President Bush's statement on the death of Zarqawi: "Last night in Iraq, United States
military forces killed the terrorist al Zarqawi. At 6:15 p.m. Baghdad
time, special operation forces...delivered justice to the most
wanted terrorist in Iraq." (emphasis added).
Zarqawi's death is difficult to mourn. He was a brutal terrorist, and there's no reason to doubt that the air strike that killed him was justified. But though it was justified, was it really "justice"?
You might say that Bush was merely using a figure of speech-- that "justice," in this context, simply meant that Zarqawi got what he deserved. But I don't think it was just a figure of speech. On the contrary. Clausewitz saw war as "a continuation of politics by other means." Bush takes it a step further, seeing war as form of law by other means.To Bush, war is a form of law, and law is a form of war.
This administration has repeatedly sought to blur the boundaries
between law and violence in the context of the war on terror, both
through efforts to "legalize" various forms of violence (including once impermissible forms of violence, through the torture
memos, for instance) and through efforts to militarize law and legal
process (consider the Administration's largely sucecssful efforts to
conceptualize Padilla, Hamdi, et al. as enemy combatants).
I'm not sure "militarizing law" is the right way to put it- but think of the term "lawfare," used to suggest that "the enemy" is using international law aginast the US as part of a "war" against us (and also used to suggest that those who raise legal objections to US war on terror tactics are somehow aiding the enemy).
I'd be the first to say that the boundaries between "law" and "violence" or "force" are inherently blurry and socially constructed - but the administration's efforts to further blur those boundaries strikes me as both interesting and disturbing.