When I speak about enhanced interrogation — or indeed virtually all of our controversial tactics in the war on terror, including the drone program — I tend to begin with three moral propositions.
First, it is immoral to establish legal doctrines that would provide unlawful combatants with all the same protections as lawful prisoners of war. The reason for this is simple. As I said yesterday, doing so provides a terrorist or other unlawful enemy with an incentive to keep violating legal norms and thus provides them with enormous tactical advantages. The laws of war originated in moral norms that aspire to limit combat to the combatants. Terrorists disrupt these legal and moral norms not just by intentionally targeting civilians but also by intentionally mingling with civilians.
But it goes even beyond incentivizing terror tactics. Providing the same protections incentivizes the war itself. Terror apologists respond to the jihadist war crime of concealing themselves within the civilian population by asserting that's their only choice if they wish to fight the U.S. or Israel — they'd be slaughtered in open combat. Yes, they would. And the laws of war dictate that utterly futile combat is a needless waste of life and a further violation of international legal norms. So, in short, don't initiate a war that you cannot lawfully win. more >>
In a remarkable but thus-far unnoticed address on Dec. 5, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain (an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf and home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet), candidly analyzed the Islamist enemy and suggested important ways to fight it.
He has much to teach Westerners (starting with his hapless UK counterpart, Crown Prince Charles), if only we would listen. Yes, some Western leaders speak about confronting the Islamist ideology, but the majority avoids this issue by resorting to euphemism, obfuscation, and cowardice. Most frustrating are those leaders (like Tony Blair) who deliver powerful speeches without follow-through.
Prince Salman, 45 and widely acknowledged to be the Bahraini royal family's principal reformer, opens his remarks by addressing the inaccuracy of the phrase, "War on Terror." The time has come, he says "for us to get rid of" a term that dates back to 9/11. "It is a bit misleading, it is not the entirety and the totality of our conflict" but merely a "tool" and a tactic. more >>
Some minority Christians in Israel have expressed concern for the proposed "Jewish State" bill that is set to define the country as the "nation-state of the Jewish people." Other commentators have said, however, that it would be incorrect to assume the bill will infringe on the rights of minorities, and instead can be seen as a move to back Israel's right to exist.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the bill seeks to define Israel as "the nation-state of the Jewish people" and reinforce the use of "Hatikva" as the national anthem, and the use of the Hebrew calendar.
While some of the nation's Christians, who make up only two percent of the population, have reportedly expressed concern for the rights of religious minorities in the country, other voices have said it is unlikely that the bill would pose such dangers. more >>
In single-sex classes, which are common for sex education, students must be allowed to go to the class of the gender they consider themselves to be rather than their actual gender, the U.S. Department of Education directed schools that receive federal funds in a Dec. 1 memo.
The memo, from the department's Office for Civil Rights, provides guidance for K-12 schools for when they are allowed to have same-sex classes or extracurricular activities and remain in compliance with Title IX, a 1972 law to protect against gender discrimination in education programs that get federal aid.
Schools may divide students by gender, the memo says, if the course or extracurricular activity is a contact sport or deals with human sexuality. Vocational classes are not allowed to be gender-specific. more >>
A military base in Georgia has been accused of unjustly punishing a Christian chaplain for sharing his faith during a training class on suicide prevention.
Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn was given a "letter of concern" from a superior at Fort Benning for explaining to the class about how his Christian faith helped him through his depression.
Colonel David G. Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, delivered the punishment. more >>
Hip-hop moguls Jay Z and Russell Simmons met with the Governor of New York State, Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday to discuss criminal justice reform relating to the Eric Garner case.
The entrepreneurs took time out of their busy schedules to use their platforms to advocate change in the wake of racial unrest in the U.S.
Both Jay Z, who took part in protests for Trayvon Martin alongside his wife Beyonce last year, and Simmons, who supported the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests, spoke with Gov. Cuomo about making changes to the state's criminal justice system. They reportedly encouraged the Queens native to appoint a special prosecutor in the Garner case following a Staten Island grand jury's controversial decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's chokehold death. more >>