Ever wonder how the US can evade the longstanding principles of international law and use assassination, torture and secret jails to fight the “war on terrorism”?
By creating the myth of what security studies folks call the “non-state actor.”
The idea is that terrorist groups like the Taliban and al Qaeda are somehow capable of organizing a global war against US interests as free standing movements functioning independently of the existing state system. Since in large part international humanitarian law is about how states go to war against each other, it frees states from many constraints when acting against so-called non-state actors.
There is indeed a war of sorts underway against certain aspects of US power on a global level but as this report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that war relies heavily on state support from nations like Pakistan.