Jurgen Habermas Quotes (29 Quotes)


    Since the intervention in Afghanistan, we suddenly began to notice when, in political discussions, we found ourselves only among Europeans or Israelis.

    I consider Bush's decision to call for a war against terrorism a serious mistake. He is elevating these criminals to the status of war enemies, and one cannot lead a war against a network if the term war is to retain any definite meaning.

    Since our complex societies are highly susceptible to interferences and accidents, they certainly offer ideal opportunities for a prompt disruption of normal activities.

    A threatened nation can react to uncertain dangers solely through administrative channels, to the truly embarrassing situation of perhaps overreacting.

    Disappointment over nationalistic authoritarian regimes may have contributed to the fact that today religion offers a new and subjectively more convincing language for old political orientations.


    Partisans fight on familiar territory with professed political objectives to conquer power. This is what distinguishes them from terrorists.

    Historically, terrorism falls in a category different from crimes that concern a criminal court judge.

    The misery in war-torn Afghanistan is reminiscent of images from the Thirty Years' War.

    What was new was the symbolic force of the targets struck. The attackers did not just physically cause the highest buildings in Manhattan to collapse; they also destroyed an icon in the household imagery of the American nation.

    I cannot imagine a context that would some day, in some manner, make the monstrous crime of September 11 an understandable or comprehensible political act.

    Today's Islamic fundamentalism is also a cover for political motifs. We should not overlook the political motifs we encounter in forms of religious fanaticism.

    If the September 11 terror attack is supposed to constitute a caesura in world history, it must be able to stand comparison to other events of world historical impact.

    Perhaps at a later point important developments will be traced back to September 11. But for now we do not know which of the many scenarios will actually hold in the future.

    Osama bin Laden, the person, more likely serves the function of a stand-in. Compare the new terrorists with partisans or conventional terrorists in Israel. These people often fight in a decentralized manner in small, autonomous units, too.

    The scenarios of biological or chemical warfare painted in detail by the American media during the months after September 11 only betray the inability of the government to determine the magnitude of the danger.

    Perhaps September 11 could be called the first historic world event in the strictest sense: the impact, the explosion, the slow collapse - a gruesome reality literally took place in front of a global public.

    Global terrorism is extreme both in its lack of realistic goals and in its cynical exploitation of the vulnerability of complex systems.

    After September 11, the European governments have completely failed. They are incapable of seeing beyond their own national scope of interests.

    In the U.S.A. or Europe there is no realistic way to estimate the type, magnitude, or probability of the risk, nor any way to narrow down the potentially affected regions.

    Some of those drawn into the holy war had been secular nationalists only a few years before. If one looks at the biographies of these people, remarkable continuities are revealed.

    The state is in danger of falling into disrepute due to the evidence of its inadequate resources.

    The difference between political terror and ordinary crime becomes clear during the change of regimes, in which former terrorists become well-regarded representatives of their country.

    From a moral point of view, there is no excuse for terrorist acts, regardless of the motive or the situation under which they are carried out.

    Instead of the international police action we had hoped for during the war in Kosovo, there are wars again - conducted with state-of-the-art technology, but still in the old style.

    The clever, albeit fragile, coalition against terrorism brought together by the U.S. government might be able to advance the transition from classical international law to a cosmopolitan order.

    Manhattan... capital of the 20th century, a city that has fascinated me for more than three decades.

    The uncertainty of the danger belongs to the essence of terrorism.




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