Terrorism and the Law

November 18, 2008 

Columbus State University has been blessed by the Richard R. Hallock Foundation providing the funding for the Political Science Department to host a series of thoughtprovoking lectures on issues important to all of us today. On Oct. 30, Professor Jeffrey Addicott from the St. Mary’s University School of Law spoke about terrorism and the law. Professor Addicott is the Director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s. He is also a retired Army officer.

I found his comments very interesting and refreshing.

Professor Addicott noted that no other law school, much to his surprise, has been willing to establish an organization like the Center for Terrorism Law to help the government determine how best to apply United States and international law to the situation we now face with radical Islamists trying to kill us.

He agreed that we are in a war and that the Congress and Supreme Court in the language of funding authorizations and decisions, even if not in line with administration requests, have agreed that we are in a war.

A declaration of war is not necessary and has rarely been applied to wartime situations.

I’m certain I have the numbers wrong, but Professor Addicott indicated that our nation has used military force in war over 200 times but has only had five declarations of war. In the other instances, Congress issued an authorization for the use of force just as it did for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The description of the conditions at Guantanamo Bay was very interesting. Professor Addicott has visited many times. He remarked that the reports of torture are untrue and that we should expect that.

The detainees are not our friends. After all, they want to kill us. I’ve written about that before in this newspaper.

Read al-Qaida’s pronouncements. Unless we Americans adopt their radical beliefs, the members of al-Qaida and any associated group will not rest until we are dead.

Therefore, why would someone like that be at all concerned about telling the truth? They lie, pure and simple. Makes sense to me.

Did you know that we’ve released over 500 detainees and about 15 percent of them have been discovered back on the battlefield once again trying to kill Americans? One was even a suicide bomber. Professor Addicott said that there are only about 240 detainees left in the detention facility at Guantanamo.

However, there are about 60 people who we want to release because we no longer view them as direct threats to the United States. Unfortunately their home countries will not accept them and we have been unable to find a substitute home.

One federal judge has ordered that we (yes, the United States) accept some of them as residents. Wow. That will sure help real estate values someplace. Do you want some of these folks to move next door?

Regardless of what you may think of Professor Addicott’s (or my) views, I recommend that you check out CSU’s Hallock lecture series. The lecturers bring interesting views about something relevant to life today. They’ll stir your thinking along the way.

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