Terrorism strategy under Obama

The World

Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t the only fronts in the war on terrorism. There was recently a raid in Syria in which U.S. Special Forces attacked Al Qaeda-linked foreign fighters. The U.S. has also made cross border attacks into Pakistan lately. The New York Times today said the Bush administration has used broad definitions since 2004 in carrying out attacks against Al Qaeda in other militants. These military raids came from an unclassified order, signed by then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in the spring of 2004 with Bush’s approval. This analyst says the order is legal by U.S. terms but also raises serious international questions, because international law says you must have the authority of that country to conduct such a raid. It’s not clear whether the U.S. ever sought that authority and publicly Pakistan and Syria have denounced the raids, and with good cause says this analyst. He says only an unusual circumstance might allow for an occasion where the U.S. could attack without getting such authority, and it would be a drastic step. Obama has said he can imagine a circumstance where he’d take such a risk. This analyst understands the necessity of going after an enemy wherever you find him, but there are other ways that it’s done. He says the best methods for conducting an international war on terrorism is to channel efforts diplomatically rather than militarily. He says that’s something the Bush administration did well early on with Syria but that effort was dropped. So far, there’s reason to believe that Obama’s tactics would be more nuanced.

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