Politics can be interpreted in so many ways and its definitions are plenty. What may be politics of our government can also be the same politics in our homes, schools, social circles, etc. This essay will use the article ‘In New Tactic, Militants Burn Houses in Iraq’ from the New York Times, to demonstrate the application of different definitions of politics, pertaining to the war on terrorism.
It will assess the article’s informativeness; particularly its background information on the issue, the identities involved, and the issue’s significance to countries. It will then identify the article’s strengths and weaknesses in helping people form opinions on the war on terrorism.The article starts with Cave reporting Iraq’s civil war, where Sunni militants burned homes to intimidate Shiite pilgrims, demonstrating a definition of politics as “an activity aimed at achieving advantage over others in a particular group” (Times-Chambers Dictionary, 1997). The ploy to achieve higher authority over others also demonstrates Lasswell’s definition of politics: “who gets what, when, how” (Tansey, 1995).
Considering a more inclusive explanation of politics is also useful.The Islamic conflict, which according to Ghosh is actually ‘a fight for political domination’ (Ghosh, 2007), demonstrates Leftwich’s understanding that politics is in this case, is conflict that not only exists in the government but also “between groups, institutions and societies” (Leftwich, 2003). The article’s last paragraphs, where Cave reports Bush’s conference with Iran and Syria officials, presents a definition of politics put forward by Crick: “Free discussion of issues between democratic societies without undue violence” (Tansey, 1995). The US invasion of Iraq can also be looked at as a ‘clash of civilizations’ (Huntington, 2003) and ‘American political hegemony’ (Bovard, 2003).
A backgrounder for the specific conflict would be similar to what I read in week 5’s readings, particularly ‘Religious terror and global war’, whose topic fits perfectly with this story. Perhaps a bite-size version of the religious war in Iraq would be helpful to the article, as it may not be substantially understood by the public majority. In paragraphs 8 to 13, readers are updated on the recent happenings in Diyala, but there’s nothing to remind them of the cause of chaos. For obvious reasons, the United States has the most coverage in this article, and is depicted as a ‘controller’ to the situation. Iran and Syria were only mentioned to be providing ‘weapons and suicide bombers to Iraq’, but there’s nothing definitive about their involvement in the war.
Germany and Afghanistan were mentioned in the sub-story about the kidnapping of German tourists in Iraq, but again, their direct relation to the war in Iraq was not emphasized.Based on the informativeness of this article, readers wouldn’t be able to form strong opinions on the foundational aspects of the Iraq civil war and the US-Iraq war, such as ‘how it began’ and ‘what were the United States’ goals’. However, the article is well-informed on the war’s current situation, and might be adequate in forming half-arguments on the effectiveness of the war on terrorism. The article, which is also more retrospective-oriented than introspective, allows for shallow perceptions.In conclusion, this report article would not be meant as standalone information for opinion-making on the war. However, the report could be interesting to discuss in the knowledge of a more ‘zoomed-out picture’. (548 words)BibliographyBovard, James. 2003.
“License for Tyranny” in Terrorism and Tyranny,Macmillan.Ghosh, Bobby. 2007. “Why They Hate Each Other” in TIME magazine, March 5,2007 issue.Huntington, Samuel. 1993.
‘The clash of civilizations’ in Foreign Affairs, vol. 72,p22-49.Leftwich, Adrian. 1984. “Politics: people, resources and power” in What ispolitics? The activity and its study, Oxford: Blackwell publishing.
Seaton, Anne. 1997. “Politics” in Times-Chambers Essential English Dictionary,3rd ed, Cambridge University Press, p667.
Tansey, Stephen. 1995. “Box 1 – Definitions of politics and power” in Politics: thebasics, Routledge, p5.