The 9/11 Commission Report and the reframing of the ‘war on terror’ as a new type of warfare

Robyn Torok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, it is vital to explore how the ‘war on terror’ initiated in late 2001 has been reframed as a new type of warfare, especially in light of The 9/11 Commission Report (9/11CR) recommendations released in mid-2004. Conceptualising the war on terror as a form of biopolitics, it is considered a new kind of war characterised by expanded executive powers as well as a carefully crafted cultural and discursive project. Rhetoric has been an important strategy to argue a just cause as well as engender support. Practically, policies have impacted on a number of biopolitical spheres, including foreign policy that is perceived as being driven by economic liberalism in order to maintain hegemony, thus causing a degree of alienation amongst Muslim populations. In addition, there has also been an erosion of civil liberties including media freedoms in order to improve security, and much criticism of the way in which enemy combatants have been treated and tried. Much of the framework of the original war on terror has remained since the 9/11CR was introduced, with some practices undermining the ability to win the war of ideas. A move toward reframing the war on terror more in line with 9/11CR has been made in recent years with moves toward more humane treatment of combatants and a softer rhetoric. Nevertheless much more work needs to be done in both domestic and global spheres.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • The 9/11 Commission Report
  • war on terror
  • biopolitics


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