My oldest brother Jeff and the rest of my family have very different worldviews. My family really isn't big in talking politics, so I don't know any of my 3 brothers political views in detail but to give you an idea Jeff lists his Political views on Facebook as Green Party/Progressive. Another thing I should note about Jeff is that he is in his final year of law school.
Tonight one of my nieces had a pre-school Christmas program and the Minnesocold branch of the family got together beforehand to have dinner. At the end of dinner my mom and brother Jeff actually did get into politics. I tried to stay out of the conversation as it started out revolving around Sarah Palin and I am no Palinite like my mom.
Somewhere along the way they got off of Palin and onto Obama and Jeff made a comment about supporting the closing of Gitmo. At that point my Dad jumped in asking him if he thought our enemies in this war should be tried in US courts. My brother went right to one of my Dad's premises and questioned whether or not the situation we are in is war. And then he made the statement that he did not believe our position vis a vis Al Qaeda was war because "wars are between nations and in this instance we are not fighting a nation." The nuance of that blinded me and I didn't catch what he said next and it was time to leave so the discussion ended there.
So is my brother right or is it war?
I just have to shake my head at my brothers dubious philosophical and legal distinctions which are precisely that because Al Qaeda doesn't recognise such conceits. Al Qaeda in their own conceit does not recognise our Western institutions, jurisprudence, or conventions. I suppose there is a touch of irony in that in my brother with his post-modern and multiculturally tinted worldview can't see or understand this forest from the trees.
I can best sum it up this way. You may not want to recognise them as a real "nation" but that isn't gonna stop them from having a real Army full of militias that kill people and break things, therefore we better get our heads in their game.
US and International law may not define Al Qaeda as a government of a "nation" or "state" but Al Qaeda very much views themselves as the guiding force of a real nation responsible for real geographic territory. In their capacity as the guiding force of their nation they raise, train, and field a real Army for the defence of that territory and for the conquest of additional territories. In the capacity as a guiding force of their nation they have indeed declared real war on the United States of America and the governments and populations of many other nations. I think it is silly to argue this isn't war, when clearly their cat hunts as if it were a dog.
Their militia is an Army, and their Army from cannon fodder to commanders are war criminals if ever there was such a category of criminals. Maybe my brother, along with US and International Law need to get up to speed and keep up with reality on this one.