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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 19, 2003

Environmental Philosophy as Social Philosophy

Edmund F. Byrne
Pages 193-215

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.

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