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 Why Terrorists Aren

Why Terrorists Aren't Soldiers, Wesley K. Clark and Kal Raustiala

Burkle Center Senior Fellow Wesley K. Clark and Center Director Kal Raustiala argue in The New York Times that the current U.S. practice of declaring terrorists "enemy combatants" at once impairs counterterrorism efforts and endangers civil liberties at home.

In an op-ed published in the Aug. 8, 2007, edition of The New York Times, UCLA Burkle Center Director Kal Raustiala and Burkle Center Senior Fellow Wesley K. Clark, the retired general and former presidential candidate, argue that maintaining a clear legal distinction between combatants and terrorists is crucial to defeating terrorism around the globe. Since 9/11 the Bush administration has asserted the power to name "enemy combatants" and detain them indefinitely.

Clark and Raustiala write that the practice lends terrorists legitimacy, potentially even legitimizing their attacks on U.S. military targets, and endangers the civil liberties of Americans.

"The government wields frightening power when it can designate who is, and who is not, subject to indefinite military detention," they write.