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Word Count: 786
Much intelligent discussion of the current security crisis that the United States and not just the United States faces has centered on to what extent we and other civilized countries now find ourselves at war -- and if indeed we are at war what constraints precepts of natural justice and sound international jurisprudence impose on the retributive military actions that our government perhaps aided by its allies is currently contemplating This much seems clear and uncontroversial our immediate enemy I prescind here from considering those states who directly or indirectly sponsor terrorism is not a sovereign political state existing within defined territorial boundaries and composed of combatants and non-combatants It is an international terrorist network a private army that has already declared war on the United States and not merely the United States -- and that has already by all the evidence demonstrated its determination to wage war not merely on the US political regime but on American citizens and civil servants at home and abroad Any lingering doubt especially in the Islamic world that the Al Qaeda network and its acknowledged leader Osama bin Laden was directly responsible for the atrocities of Sept 11 should have been removed by now with the concurrence of the government of Pakistan in this judgment Al Qaeda is not a political state but it is certainly a band of pathological outlaws and it must be noted Al Qaeda is not strictly speaking waging war for its direct deliberate and intentional taking of the lives of non-combatants it is engaging rather in a systematic campaign of wanton homicide against at least anyone who happens to hold an American passport The US government therefore as any legitimate political regime in similar circumstances has the grave duty of protecting her citizens at home and abroad Justice must be done and this raises the question of what the nature of the American governments response should be
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