Matters of war, or crime?

“When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we did not send the FBI to arrest the Japanese pilots (the Clinton Doctrine) nor did we try to engage Japan in constructive conversation about how to address their grievances (the Obama Doctrine). We recognized that Japan had declared war on us, and we retaliated with an offensive that brought Japan to its knees and won the war.”

There are three basic categories for people who commit violent acts. The criminal is in it for personal gain, the terrorist for social notoriety, and the soldier as a part of a formalized state campaign. Obfuscating these categories has been a tactic of the anti-war activists but David Meir-Levi suggests that some clarity may have surfaces in how the Yoo Ruling Upholds Definition of ‘Enemy Combatant’.

There is still a long ways to go – trying to come up with a reasonable definition of torture, for instance. The fundamental issue is trying to reconcile the natural and civil rights of those who seem to want to destroy them with society’s rights of self protection and the safety of its members.

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