Traditionally, a state declares war against another state or a group of states. However, unconventional wars against tactics, such as terrorism, became popular today (Waxman 622). States may declare the war of terror to hide some inner state problems or frighten people into having them under control. Thus, although it is legally impossible to wage war on a tactic, politicians may use this terminology to gain the public’s interest and support.
It is impossible to wage war on a tactic because it is hard to reveal and suppress all insurgents and fanatics at once. For example, in 2014, “Daesh fighters swept out of Styria and captured a vast swath of Iraq” (Taylor). Daesh warriors acted not as terrorists because they did not organize mass shootings and blow up airports, but their group was considered a tactic. If the government of Iraq wanted to eradicate them, they could appeal to a NATO standard armored division, and the Daesh union would be destroyed. However, it would be impossible to affect the actions of Daesh fanatics, and similar attacks might occur in other countries. Thus, bombing the villages occupied by terrorists does not make these villages safe, and the war on a tactic is also unrealizable.
At the same time, if a terrorist attack occurs, the government will declare war against it to demonstrate that it takes some actions. People will see that the government does not ignore the attack and support its efforts and financial operations. Politicians may convince the public of doing something, constantly escalating the investments in the war. In reality, however, it can be a good cover for money laundering. In conclusion, it is impossible to wage legal war on a tactic, but it is possible to use this terminology for public consumption and political benefits.
Taylor, Scott. “On Target: It’s Impossible to Wage War against a Tactic.” Esprit de Corps: Canadian Military Magazine. Web.
Waxman, Matthew C. “The Power to Wage War Successfully.” Columbia Law Review, vol. 117, no. 3, 2017, pp. 613-686.