Al Qa’ida: terrorists or irregulars?
This chapter analyses, for and against, of the American policy reactions to the strikes of 11 September 2001 miss key points. In essence, this 'third way' takes the position that the American approach is worse than a crime; it is a mistake. The American classification of Al Qa'ida as a terrorist organisation is a mistake on several levels. The issue of making up the term 'unlawful combatants' has developed with the idea that the Taliban, and especially Al Qa'ida, did not have official uniforms to distinguish themselves as combatants and so simply cannot be prisoners of war. In making the case for law to recognise the realities of warfare, rather than trying to impose a structure of law that works well for contacts on the battlefield and war-room, the inevitable conclusion is that the USA (and her allies) is involved in a war against Al Qa'ida, and not against 'terrorism'.