chapter  3
The media war on terrorism
Pages 22

The War on Terrorism launched in 2001 is another attempt to resolve the crisis of meaning. It has been offered by neo-conservatives as a kind of long-term replacement for the Cold War, and seen by many critics in the same light. Yet if the War on Terrorism can be compared to the Cold War as a new justification for US foreign policy, it has been a signally unsuccessful and unconvincing replacement. Baudrillard’s sarcastic descriptions of the first ‘non-war’ on Iraq sound even more applicable to the 2003 sequel. He observed, for example, that Saddam Hussein’s military strength was exaggerated in 1991 by:

brandishing the threat of a chemical war, a bloody war, a world war – everyone had their say – as though it were necessary to give ourselves a fright, to maintain everyone in a state of erection for fear of seeing the flaccid member of war fall down.