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Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in International, Law, War | 6 comments

What Happens When Traditional War Rules Are Overtaken By New Realities?


Nineteen died in a June drone attack on a suspected terrorist
training camp in a Pakistani tribal district near the Afghan border

The question is simple but provocative: How does the United States fight the war against terrorism using the rules of traditional warfare? The answer is complex and far from a settled thing.

White House, State Department and Pentagon officials are debating the question anew as Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan, which are the terrorist organization’s traditional haunts, continues to by weakened through Special Forces operations and drone and cruise missile strikes ordered by Barack “Weak On Defense” Obama in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden in May.

Meanwhile, the battlefield has shifted to Yemen and Somalia, two essentially ungoverned lands separated by the Gulf of Aden.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was responsible for the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009, while the Shabab, an Al Qaeda affiliate, operates in Somalia.

There is a consensus among government and military officials that the operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan should continue. The question is whether the U.S. should continue to go after only high-level leaders of the Arabian Peninsula groups who may be personally linked to plots to attack the U.S. or whether it can also attack the thousands of low-level foot soldiers for the terrorist leaders.

Complicating this slippery slope of a question is that the U.S.’s European allies tend to believe that the terrorism battlefield does not extend beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan, while the legality of an unconstrained “global” war under international law is cloudy.

My own view, which rather uncomfortably and coincidentally is that of Senator Lindsay Graham, the Senate’s leading legal authority on military matters, is that restrictions on the definition of the battlefield, let alone the combatants, ultimately will impede the fight.

This, of course, flies in the face of of the time-honored notion that the U.S. does not have the right to kill people in countries with whom it is not at war. But with the 9/11 attacks freshly on our minds because of the 10th anniversary just passed, it should be noted that we were not at war with Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers came from, but that should not have been a bar against going after them there — or anywhere else.

And hey, why not get Congress involved in the debate? On second thought . . .

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • ShannonLeee

    I’m not at all a fan of SA, but maybe we didn’t go into that country because we have their full cooperation? SA isn’t Pakistan. SA has a death grip on their country and aren’t beyond taking out lesser members of the royal family that have been involved in terrorist activities.

    Islamic extremism…or any movement against their government… is normally crushed when it pokes out its little head.

  • Quelcrist Falconer

    A) Democracy will not survive an endless war.
    B) Who do you think will replace the people that you kill? peaceniks?
    C) If for every “terrorist” that you kill you kill half a dozen civilians, how many new terrorist are you creating?
    D) How long do you think it will take before the “terrorist” start retaliating? Do you think that we have enough soldiers to protect American Assets (cruise ships, cargo ships, Oil tankers, manufacturing facilities, etc…)?
    E) Due to globalization we live in a world highly dependent upon networks in which there is very little redundancies(take out a handful of fabs and the worlds production of chips drops to almost zero), how long do you think it will take for someone to id enough of the major nodes, and cause them to fail, leading to systemic failure?

  • Allen

    QF-

    A) That is a generalization, it has not been tested to fruition.
    B) More future dead.
    C) Half a dozen.
    D) We are waiting. Still nothing.
    E) We learn by trial and error. Give us some more trial please. It helps the process.

    We are not afraid anymore. 🙂

  • hyperflow

    But with the 9/11 attacks freshly on our minds because of the 10th anniversary just passed, it should be noted that we were not at war with Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers came from, but that should not have been a bar against going after them there — or anywhere else.

    **** 9/11 ****** MORE WAR ***** BECAUSE ****

    This is how I read every 9-11 conspiracy theory witch hunt story.

    You may have inspired me to make a “9/11” madlibs, fill in the blank, complete with country, reason to go to war without declaring war, etc, etc.

  • hyperflow

    These stories basically write themselves with fill in the blanks.

    A new startling report from _______ points to evidence obtained by ____ showing that there is a connection between ____ and ____. Prior to 911, the _____ was not _____ but this too has now changed. _______ of ________ ordered a immediate investigation of ______ to determine if _____ is a threat. It will be difficult to ______ because ____ may not be cooperative to _______. If it is determined that ______ is withholding information about ______ then it may be necessary to ________.

  • hyperflow

    Read this post . . .

    http://themoderatevoice.com/121004/ten-years-after-the-911-attacks-the-greatest-cover-up-in-u-s-history-still-holds/

    . . . and then tell me if you think I’m really a 9/11 conspiracy freak.

    Thank you.

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