Certified Review – The Islamic State

Arlan Cohen revisits his recent report on the Islamic State, “Scared to Fight,” with Cornell Law Professor Jens David Ohlin. In part one of the interview, they discuss the legal and policy justifications governing the US response in Iraq and Syria. Jens David Ohlin is a professor at Cornell Law School who specializes in international and criminal law. He has published a number of books on the laws of war, targeted killings, and the role of non-state actors in armed conflicts. His newest book, The Assault on International Law, is due out this January through Oxford University Press. The Journal of Law and Public Policy’s blog unit reached out to Professor Ohlin to get his thoughts on the Islamic State (IS) and recent events in the Middle East. The following interview is published in two parts. PART ONE Matt Olson of the National Counterterrorism Center stated in a speech recently that we do not have any credible information that the Islamic State is planning to attack the U.S. President Obama has also said that we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland. Assuming the circumstances have not changed and IS still does not pose a direct threat to [read more]

Scared to Fight – A war-weary America prepares for war

In his recent interview with Admiral Mike Mullen regarding the threat posed by the terrorist organization IS (Islamic State), Stephen Colbert momentarily discarded his hawkish conservative persona. “Can I tell you why the American people might be tired of [fighting in the Middle East]?…It is because we are asked to be afraid of it and reminded to be afraid of it but we no longer have much of a voice in it because our congressional representatives won’t vote on whether to do anything about it. We are not asked to sacrifice that much for it, very few of us go fight, and we also are not told all that much of what is happening over there. So all we have is the fear and none of the action. And so we eventually want to stop thinking about it…” The statement is a victory for truth over “truthiness.” Colbert pinpoints exactly why a war-weary America is preparing to drag itself back into an armed conflict after a decade long campaign that depleted our treasures and international credibility. Fear. But while we are willing to condone war at the altar of domestic security, Colbert reminds us that, without understanding the nature of [read more]
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