Magazine January 25, 2010, Issue

Enemies, Not Defendants

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was overpowered by passengers and crew on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25 after setting alight an explosive device attached to his body. This photo was released by the U.S. Marshals Service, December 28, 2009. (U.S. Marshals Service/Reuters)
Let the law of war meet the War on Terror

Will the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to murder the 288 passengers and crew aboard Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day, inspire a national epiphany? Will Americans finally grasp how insane it is to regard counterterrorism as a law-enforcement project rather than a matter of national security?

In the last paragraph of its December 30 report on the attack, the Washington Post got around to telling its readers that Abdulmutallab had clammed up. After giving the FBI some information in the early stages of his interrogation, he ceased cooperating, on the advice of his defense lawyers. “Authorities

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I am reminded of one of the supervisors of my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, Roger Tsien, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008.


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