The hard reality is that the United States has declared war on a tactic—terror. The nation must accept lawful force as the only tool that will allow us to win the war against our enemy. The “War on Terror” is unlike anything the people of the United States have seen or fought before. The issue is: Are we at war, or is this simply a metaphor like the “war on drugs” or the “war on poverty?” The Act of Congress signed by President George W. Bush was the first legal document that began to answer this inquiry. The 2006 Military Commission Act was a legal broadside that has yet to fully settle in the minds of many Americans.
Five years after passing the use-of-force resolution in Iraq, Congress stopped passively sitting on the sidelines and became energized. The reality of this newly enacted Military Commission Act is that military commissions cannot exist in the absence of a true war. The United States is fighting a “virtual state” known as al Qaeda. However, al Qaeda acts more like a nation-state in terms of power and goals. Its members are highly dedicated to the mission of killing Americans, and will die for that cause. Recent terrorist attacks and attempts to cause terror prove that the United States’ war on terror is not a metaphor.
The United States’ policies are the correct policies. Congress has finally stepped up to the plate and acknowledged that our enemies do not wear uniforms. As a result, our President and military need firm and solid legal advice from the legal community to set the course and be the watchdogs for justice in the War on Terror.
Jeffrey F. Addicott, Terrorism Law, 33 The Reporter 157 (2006).