I don't know why people who dislike the phrase 'war on terror' don't just confine themselves to saying something like 'I really don't like the phrase "war on terror"', or 'Gee, but do I hate the phrase "war on terror"?' They do seem to have trouble coming up with compelling reasons for their dislike. Welcoming David Miliband's recent thoughts on the subject, Baroness Shirley Williams adds to his three reasons for having taken against the idea two further reasons. Hers are just as unconvincing as his are.
Citing Sir Michael Howard, Baroness Williams writes:
Terrorists... "can be successfully destroyed only if public opinion supports the authorities in regarding them as criminals rather than heroes".
The logic of this is to suggest that you couldn't fight a war against criminals, which is patently false, because some rulers of nations and some who govern are criminals; or to suggest that one's opponents in war are bound to be heroes, which is not a truth universally acknowledged, because it is not a truth.
The Baroness's second argument asserts that it would have been better to site the... er... thing that some of us call a war on terror 'within the context of the new post-national rule of law,... demanding a common response by all law-abiding world citizens'; as if calling it a war must rule out doing that, or as if siting it where she says it should be sited would obviate the need to use military means.
So it goes. What's that word for beliefs for which no good reasons can be adduced?