The Corner

First Reaction to Obama Speech

A bit of live-blogging. It’s one thing to speak of an extremist ideology, but refusal to name that ideology belies the seriousness with which we should face the threat. And it’s one thing to praise the re-energization of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, but this too has become a mockery, as North Korea and Iran show every single day.

The basic issue which Obama is dancing around is whether terrorism is a police issue or a military issue. The difference is stark: If a police issue, in reality, we deal with the threat after the “crime” has occurred. If a military issue, we address preemptively.

The moral contrast argument is a diversion. We are a nation of laws, a nation of law for U.S. citizens and those on U.S. soil. Trying to apply U.S. law or even international law to those to whom they were never meant to apply undercuts security and undercuts the status of law. Ted Lapkin explains well, here. What Obama in effect does is take away any incentive for terrorists to adhere to rule of law.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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