Barack Obama intends to afford the “rule of law” to Islamic terrorists as part of his plan to improve the world’s opinion of America. Yet granting to them protections defeats the very reasons the signators to the Geneva Conventions left unlawful combatants unprotected. It would reward those who endanger noncombatants by conducting terrorism from within and visibly indistinguishable from civilian populaces. Leaving terrorists outside the rule of law ensures that individuals who wage war with no regard to humanity find no legal quarter and it dissuades nations from conducting wars by proxy.
Clifford May, writing today in the National Review Online:
[Andrew McCarthy] notes that what we short-handedly call the war on terrorism is complicated by the fact that the existing system of laws and treaties were designed with conventional conflicts in mind. “The animating idea of the Geneva Conventions, adopted in 1949 after the carnage of two world wars, was to civilize warfare,” he writes. “Belligerents opted into the system by conduct” — that is, by obeying the laws of armed conflict.
But members of such groups as al-Qaeda (including al-Qaeda in Iraq), Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Taliban, Hezbollah, and Hamas routinely and egregiously violate the laws of war — for example, by targeting civilians, hiding among civilians, not wearing uniforms, and not carrying their weapons openly.
It is absurd to suggest that America can prevail in a war against terrorists by prosecuting them after they carry out attacks in which they intend to die. A rational government, conscious of its duty to protect the population, must attempt to prevent and pre-empt terrorists from completing their missions. That requires gathering solid, actionable intelligence. … READ THE REST
Once sworn in, President Obama should retreat from his campaign rhetoric. We should not provide unlawful warriors with legal advantages in furtherance of America’s defeat, the world’s opinion notwithstanding.