Law Games

“Those who proclaim themselves jihadis recognize no international rules governing their behavior. They abide only by their interpretation of sharia, Islamic law, which permits — indeed encourages — violations of the fundamental laws of war such as targeting non-combatants, using non-combatants as shields, disguising combatants as non-combatants, and summarily executing non-combatants.

Curiously, few “human-rights activists” have much to say about these practices. Their goal is not to persuade the barbarians — they would never call them that, though when you’re talking about people who behead civilians on camera, the shoe fits — to reform. Their goal is not to persuade all combatants to uphold a single and humane standard of warfare, what Berkowitz calls the post–World War II “revolution in military affairs” aimed at bringing “the conduct of war under vastly greater legal supervision.” On the contrary, they contort legal reasoning to advantage unlawful combatants over warriors who fight by the rules.”

By Clifford May