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War Footing

Yesterday morning I was watching Network Ten’s 9am with David and Kath (Kim Watkins is in Borneo). The Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison was answering questions about the upsurge of crystal meth abuse in Australia.

Obviously it’s a huge problem; Ellison was good on stats and sounded passionate about his subject. Unfortunately he kept using the phrase “The War on Drugs”.

Does this American phrase work in an Australian context? Should we be using it at all when you consider its history?

Former US president Nixon coined it when he called for a War on Drugs in 1971. That War continues to this day. In 1964 Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty and in 2001 George W. Bush declared a War on Terror.

Perhaps at first the term “The War on…” was created to give an impression of decisive action with the hope for a swift conclusion.

So far nothing termed “The War on…” has reached a satisfactory end. Maybe it’s time this phrase was dropped from the political and journalistic lexicon.

Elevate the Vocabulary,

Mr Trivia

Picture of socially acceptable antibiotics courtesy of


Roachman68 said…
You've got to give credit where credit's due- I think Reagan managed to have a War against Crime, a War against Terror, a War against Drugs, and a War against the Evil Empire, all in the one administration! As you pointed out, we're still fighting those wars, but we now have the latest model- the war on NARCO-TERROR! I think now that each war is dragging out to it's logical extreme, and beyond the suspense of disbelief, they are now simply mixing and matching.

It's a worry.
Mister Trivia said…
It is a worry, and at the risk of coining the cliche - this seems to be a more 'niche' version of the everlasting war between the three continents in Orwell's 1984.

We have peace and yet war all at the same time. We are living in an enlightened democracy but can employ all the rhetoric and demonsiation of war time.

Somebody, somewhere is taking away our freedom and security; whether they're a suicide bomber or a junkie waiting to blow us away when we buy milk down at the 7-11.

Operation Everlasting Anxiety.


Mr Trivia

p.s. Thanks for the context, I feel rather remiss, roachman68, that I didn't give Reagan and co their props. Ahh, how I miss the 1980s.

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