Family Feud: The Law in War and Peace

American law treats terrorism like an act of war, not a crime. The fact that Europeans don’t doesn’t make their way better.

Issue: May-June 2007

IT IS NO secret that the War on Terror's prosecution has revealed fundamental differences between the United States and Europe over how to meet the challenges of global terrorism and jihadi Islamism. After the September 11 attacks, the United States chose a military response and considers itself to be engaged in a legally cognizable armed conflict to which the laws and customs of war apply. That view, although occasionally questioned by American politicians like Senator John Kerry (D-MA) during his unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign, is supported by most Americans and is not likely to change regardless of who moves into the White House on January 20, 2009.

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