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,