Terrorists Are Criminals

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"Terrorists Are Criminals"

This op-ed came out a couple of days ago, but I find the argument from Wesley Clark and Kal Raustiala that terrorists are criminals, not soldiers and deserve to be treated as such has a great deal of merit. There was this fad, post-9/11, for deciding that treating terrorism as a “miltiary” rather than a “law enforcement” problem would constitute getting serious about it, but that’s mostly proven to be a huge fiasco.

Now, of course, the “law enforcement” problem of Osama bin Laden ran into the snag that he was located in a country whose de facto government was protecting him and encouraging his activities. That — Taliban control of Afghanistan — was properly defined as a military issue, but it’s been a huge mistake to take the view that, in general, we’re in a “war” with what amounts to an unusually bloodthirsty but only medium-sized criminal syndicate.

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