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Terrorism In The United States

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Terrorism poses a unique threat to the national security of the United States, in which there are few legal precedents. With the advancement of technological warfare and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the targeted killing of enemy combatants, establishing the legal framework for such actions has been very controversial. The United States government has declared us as being in a state of non-international armed conflict (NIAC) with Al-Qaeda in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As outlined in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the President is “authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determined planned, authorized, committed, or aided…show more content…
The President, with the authorization of Congress has stated that the U.S. is in a state of NIAC with Al-Qaeda overseas. As such, the President has the inherent right and the duty to use lethal force against members of Al-Qaeda posing an imminent threat in self-defense under international law. In the case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld3, lethal force against enemy forces is an “important incident of war.” In determining whether an enemy combatant poses an imminent threat, the United State government does not need clear evidence that a specific attack will take place in the immediate future. If they did, our ability to prevent and respond to threats would be greatly diminished. Imminence, by definition, requires the government to refrain from action until preparations for an attack have been made, which in the case of 09/11, would not have allowed sufficient time for us to defend ourselves. The feasibility of preparing our response to an attack of this nature while keeping in mind due process, is oftentimes not possible. Al-Qaeda is continually planning attacks and the window of opportunity for defensive action that balances the likelihood of success and also reduces…show more content…
Military action involves the exercise of discretion by the President and the executive branch and if a court were to intervene in the decision-making process, the time and resources necessary to go through the legal framework could cause us to miss the window of opportunity to prevent a possible attack. Judicial involvement in these decisions would defy the tactical judgement of the President and his advisors of national security who have been made responsible for making these difficult calls. Judicial oversight for how and when lethal force can be used against enemy combatants is not only impractical, but could inhibit our military from taking the necessary steps to prevent and defend our country from the very real threats we are facing. Our government has laws in place, as outlined above, that safeguard the legal process for targeted killing and ensuring that our Constitution is upheld. Targeted killing is assessed on a case-by-case basis and is subject to judicial review if a policy violation is suspected. With those checks and balances in place, we as Americans should feel confident in trusting our military to make the most informed decision in these matters and if a problem is found, we have the legal framework to dispute those
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