I have been amazed at the legalistic language used in covering the foiled terror plots in the U.K.-we were told that one of the “suspects,” found on fire and running from the burning SUV rammed into an entrance of the Glasgow airport had been taken to a hospital. There an explosive device was apparently found on the suspect. Call me crazy, but I bet the suspect is, truly and indeed, a terrorist. I do understand that news people have to use these terms, and I urge you to read this important piece on the recent Al-Marri case:
“The reasoning in the Al-Marri case was deeply flawed, and if widely adopted it would undermine a fundamental purpose of the laws of war: avoiding impunity for war crimes. The ruling not only weakened America’s national security but opened the possibility that no body of law applies to conflicts between non-state actors — which would make it impossible, for example, to prosecute the Hamas gunmen who recently murdered Fatah fighters and wantonly killed Palestinian civilians in Gaza….
“The court made an equally serious error in suggesting that the United States can be at war with al-Qaeda only when that group is affiliated with a foreign government. Although nations rarely invoke the laws of war with regard to non-state actors, the legal basis of such conflicts is well established. The Supreme Court has held that the United States could be at ‘war’ with non-state entities such as Indian tribes. It also recognized during the Civil War — another conflict between the United States and a non-state — that whether the United States is at war, and with whom, is a question reserved to the political branches, in particular to the president. Under the Al-Marri reasoning, everyone fighting for the South during the Civil War was a civilian because none was ‘affiliated with recognized nation states'”
I was also grimly amused at TV reports over the weekend that the London plotters appeared to be Asian-would that be Asians from the Middle East, perchance? (More on the media’s fear of using certain words.)