Nigel Inkster, the former assistant head of the British spy service MI6, slammed the United States' handling of its fight on terror, including what he called the "frenzied, alarmist response" to the recently foiled Christmas Day bomber.
Writing in an article published in the International Institute for Strategic Studies journal Survival, Inkster and coauthor Alexander Nicoll hammered what they believe is an out of proportion response to attempted terror attacks. They also attacked the United States' policy of imprisoning detainees without trial -- a practice that has continued under President Barack Obama.
"It is surely not inspiring for radicalised people with the potential for violent action to see terrorists tried in ordinary criminal courts and sentenced to long prison terms." The authors, both members of the International Institute, continue: "But it surely is inspiring to them to see terrorists treated as a special class of prisoners to be held by the military, imprisoned without trial and tortured. This is the kind of treatment that makes jihadists believe that they can indeed be the fighters for a cause that they aspire to be."
Obama has largely turned from a policy under President George W. Bush where alleged terrorists might be tried in military tribunals instead of civilian courts. But he has said that some may be held indefinitely without ever being tried.
Abandoning "ordinary standards of criminal justice" with regard to dealing with the war on terror is unwise, they write.
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