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News Tip: 1st Amendment Doesn't Bar Taking Action Against ISIS, Says Law Expert

Duke law professor Charlie Dunlap Jr., a former deputy judge advocate general of the U.S. Air Force, says President Obama is right not to commit ground troops in the fight against ISIS, but says more air power and anti-recruitment efforts are needed.

  • Quotes: “From a military perspective, the president’s strategy makes sense, and I am pleased that he is resisting the temptation to deploy a lot of American ground forces at this point,” says Duke University law professor Charlie Dunlap Jr., an expert on warfare policy and strategy. “If there is one thing we’ve learned from the conflicts in the Middle East it is that the physical presence of large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground becomes a powerful terrorist recruitment incentive.”“But a solid strategy will fail if it is implemented in a half-hearted way, so I wish I had heard the president say that he would loosen the rules of engagement for air operations, something that could be done within the law of war. ISIS needs to feel the full weight of American and coalition airpower.”“I was also pleased the president spoke about the danger of radicalization, but would have liked to have heard specifics as to how to counter ISIS’ use of the Internet. To date, it seems like that effort is mostly confined to merely asking companies to take down radicalizing social media accounts. That helps, but we also need to use criminal sanctions and even technological means against anyone who provides ISIS with cyber services or Web access.”“The First Amendment does not mean we have to allow the enemy to use the Internet to radicalize people into acts of violence.” 
  • Bio: Charlie Dunlap Jr., professor of the practice at Duke Law School and executive director of Duke's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, specializes in warfare policy and strategy, cyber-warfare, military commissions, counterinsurgency, nuclear issues and air power; a former deputy judge advocate general of the U.S. Air Force, Dunlap retired from military service in June 2010 as a major general.
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