Institutionalizing the War on Terror

Institutionalizing the War on Terror

At the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday a panel with diverse viewpoints—Kenneth Anderson, Morton Halperin, John Hutson, and Andrew McCarthy—expressed a remarkable consensus about the need for the President to go to Congress to establish the rules for a lasting “war on terror,” including such issues as intelligence gathering, detention, rendition, and the use of force short of war.

Kenneth Anderson warned that if the Bush Administration does not institutionalize the war on terror, that war will not outlast the Administration. Morton Halperin agreed, characterizing the Administration’s unilateralism as a “fundamental political misjudgment.”

John Hutson, a retired admiral and now dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, warned that if we are not careful we may lose the war on terror, and cautioned that “If we lose our soul . . . we ultimately will have lost the war on terror.” War is never a solution by itself, he said, but only buys time to develop other solutions, adding “we need to figure out why they hate us.” Andrew McCarthy replied that it doesn’t matter why they hate us, because knowing would not change our strategy or objective, which is to break the ability of radical Islam to project force.

John Yoo moderated the panel. Unfortunately he remained silent on the advisability of executive unilateralism in the war on terror, but you can buy his book.

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