Volume 19, 2003
Environmental Philosophy as Social Philosophy
Edmund F. Byrne
The Post-9/11 State Of Emergency
Reality versus Rhetoric
After the 9/11 attacks the U.S. administration went beyond emergency response towards imperialism, but cloaked its agenda in the rhetoric of fighting ‘terrorists’ and ‘terrorism.’ After distinguishing between emergency thinking and emergency planning, I question the administration’s “war on terrorism” rhetoric in three stages. First, upon examining the post-9/11 antiterrorism discourse I find that it splits into two agendas: domestic, protect our infrastructure; and foreign, select military targets. Second, I review (legitimate) approaches to emergency planning already in place. Third, after reviewing what philosophers have said about
emergencies, I recommend they turn their attention to the biases inherent in and misleading uses of antiterrorist terminology.