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

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.