Is Obama Striking the Right Balance?

President Obama has both undermined national security and eroded the foundation of human rights law.

Obama declares that "We are indeed at war with al-Qaeda," but he argues that we must treat terrorist threats as police matters. Citing the convictions of Ramzi Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, and Zacarias Moussaoui, the 20th Sept. 11 hijacker, Obama says, "Our courts and juries . . . are tough enough to convict terrorists." Convictions, however, require evidence available only after an attack. Safeguarding national security means more than just picking up the pieces.

More misguided is Obama's extension of constitutional rights to terrorists. The Geneva Conventions do not apply fully to all prisoners. To qualify for maximum protection, combatants must wear uniforms, carry arms openly and adhere to the laws of war. Terrorists fail on all counts. To bestow rights regardless incentivizes future noncompliance. If combatants face no penalty for using schoolchildren as shields, then why not set up arms in a school yard?

Our constitutional principles must remain sacrosanct, but to preserve them we must not misapply them.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at AEI.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Rubin


  • Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engagement examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.


    Follow Michael Rubin on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-5851
    Email: mrubin@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Ahmad Majidyar
    Phone: 202-862-5845
    Email: ahmad.majidyar@aei.org

What's new on AEI

image The Census Bureau and Obamacare: Dumb decision? Yes. Conspiracy? No.
image A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
image Give the CBO long-range tools
image The coming collapse of India's communists
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 14
    MON
  • 15
    TUE
  • 16
    WED
  • 17
    THU
  • 18
    FRI
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Calling treason by its name: A conversation with Liam Fox

Join us at AEI as the Right Honorable Liam Fox sits down with Marc Thiessen to discuss and debate whether America’s intelligence agencies have infringed on the personal privacy of US citizens.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead

How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.