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Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror

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Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror Cover

ISBN13: 9781594201790
ISBN10: 159420179x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Benjamin Wittes offers the first nonpartisan critique of a crucial front in Americ‛s war on terror—the legal battles fought by and among the Bush administration, the U.S. Congress, and the Supreme Court

Six years after the September 11 attacks, America is losing a crucial front in the ongoing war on terror. It is losing not to Al Qaeda but to its own failure to construct a set of laws that will protect the American people—its military and executive branch, as well as its citizens—in the midst of a conflict unlike any it has faced in the past. Now, in the twilight of President Bus‛s administration, Brookings Institution fellow Benjamin Wittes offers a vigorous analysis of the troubling legal legacy of the Bush administration as well as that of the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court. Law and the Long War tells as no book has before the story of how America came to its current impasse in the debate over liberty, human rights, and counterterrorism and draws a road map for how the country and the next president might move forward.

Moving beyond the stale debate between those fixated on the executive branch as the key architect of counterterrorism policy and those who see the judiciary as the essential guarantor of liberty against governmental abuses, Wittes argues that the essential problem is that the Bush administration did not seek—and Congress did not write—new laws to authorize and regulate the tough presidential actions this war would require. In a line of argument that is sure to spark controversy, Wittes reveals an administration whose most significant failure was not that it was too aggressive in the substance of its action, but rather that it tried to shoulder the burden of aggressiveness on its own without seeking the support of other branches of government. Using startling new empirical research on the detainee population at Guantánamo Bay, Wittes avers that many of the administratio‛s actions were far more defensible than its many critics believed and actually warranted congressional support. Yet by resisting both congressional and judicial involvement in its controversial decisions, the executive branch ironically prevented both of those branches from sharing in the political accountability for necessary actions that challenged traditional American notions of due process and humane treatment.

Boldly offering a new way forward, Wittes concludes that the path toward fairer, more accountable rules for a conflict without end lies in the development of new bodies of law covering detention, interrogation, trial, and surveillance. Sure to discomfort and ignite debate, Law and the Long War is the first nonideological argument about a controversial issue of vital importance to all Americans.

Review:

"Brookings Institution fellow Wittes evaluates the 'war on terror' from a refreshingly nonpartisan perspective that assesses the chasm between the gravity of American security needs and the 'inadequacy' of its laws. Both a defense and critique of the Bush administration, the book argues in favor of many of the measures taken by the executive branch while condemning its failure to secure congressional cooperation and the necessary 'legal architecture' to back policies that were bound to be unpopular. Wittes reserves his real ire for a legislature that has ignored its mandated responsibility of creating 'coherent, legal structure for this war' and a Supreme Court that has attempted to extend its jurisdiction over detainees and is increasingly interfering in foreign policy. Wittes's familiarity with the law and excellent analysis of contemporary Supreme Court cases give this book insight that transcends party politics and make for a fascinating read; however, his heavy reliance on legalese may alienate casual readers. His prose, when not bogged down by jargon, is appealing ('The Constitution is old — old and short') and services a robust call to action. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden's driver and aide, Salim Hamdan, was captured by Northern Alliance fighters in Afghanistan. They hog-tied him with electrical wire, placed a hood over his head and turned him over to American forces for a $5,000 bounty. Six months later, he was transferred to the newly built U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There, he was given... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Wittes offers the first nonpartisan critique of a crucial front in America's war on terror--the legal battles fought by and among the Bush administration, the U.S. Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Synopsis:

An authoritative assessment of the new laws of war and a sensible and sophisticated roadmap for the future of liberty in the Age of Terror

America is losing a crucial front in the ongoing war on terror. It is losing not to Al Qaeda, but to its own failure to construct a set of laws that will protect the American people during this global conflict. As debate continues to rage over the legality and ethics of war, Benjamin Wittes enters the fray with a sober-minded exploration of law in wartime that is definitive, accessible, and nonpartisan. Outlining how this country came to its current impasse over human rights and counterterrorism, Law and the Long War paves the way toward fairer, more accountable rules for a conflict without end.

About the Author

Benjamin Wittes is a Fellow and Research Director in Public Law at the Brookings Institution. A former editorial writer for The Washington Post specializing in legal affairs, Wittes currently writes a column for The New Republic online and is a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly. He is a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law.

Table of Contents

Law And The Long War Introduction

One: The Law of September 10

Two: The Administration's Response

Three: The Real Guantanamo

Four: The Necessity and Impossibility of Judicial Review

Five: The Case for Congress

Six: The Twin Problems of Detention and Trial

Seven: An Honest Interrogation Law

Eight: Surveillance Law for a New Century

Conclusion

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Yesh Prabhu, July 26, 2008 (view all comments by Yesh Prabhu)
A major flaw with this book is that Mr. Benjamin Wittes, at times, conveniently forgets that there is a document called The Constitution of the United States of America, and that this document confers on the citizens certain inalienable rights.

His prose lacks elegance. Written in "legalese", it is far from gripping; it is dry and unreadable.

But every cloud has a silver lining, as they say, and this book is a visible proof that if you write a book and it turns out to be dry and unreadable, but you seek to get it published any way, never give up because, sooner or later you will find a gullible publisher who will read the manuscript and exclaim, "How charming!"
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594201790
Subtitle:
The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror
Author:
Wittes, Benjamin
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Government - General
Subject:
Terrorism
Subject:
Justice, administration of
Subject:
Legal System
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Terrorism
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
Terrorism -- United States.
Subject:
War on Terrorism, 2001-
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20090526
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.42x5.88x1.05 in. 1.17 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » General

Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror Used Hardcover
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594201790 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Brookings Institution fellow Wittes evaluates the 'war on terror' from a refreshingly nonpartisan perspective that assesses the chasm between the gravity of American security needs and the 'inadequacy' of its laws. Both a defense and critique of the Bush administration, the book argues in favor of many of the measures taken by the executive branch while condemning its failure to secure congressional cooperation and the necessary 'legal architecture' to back policies that were bound to be unpopular. Wittes reserves his real ire for a legislature that has ignored its mandated responsibility of creating 'coherent, legal structure for this war' and a Supreme Court that has attempted to extend its jurisdiction over detainees and is increasingly interfering in foreign policy. Wittes's familiarity with the law and excellent analysis of contemporary Supreme Court cases give this book insight that transcends party politics and make for a fascinating read; however, his heavy reliance on legalese may alienate casual readers. His prose, when not bogged down by jargon, is appealing ('The Constitution is old — old and short') and services a robust call to action. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Wittes offers the first nonpartisan critique of a crucial front in America's war on terror--the legal battles fought by and among the Bush administration, the U.S. Congress, and the Supreme Court.
"Synopsis" by ,
An authoritative assessment of the new laws of war and a sensible and sophisticated roadmap for the future of liberty in the Age of Terror

America is losing a crucial front in the ongoing war on terror. It is losing not to Al Qaeda, but to its own failure to construct a set of laws that will protect the American people during this global conflict. As debate continues to rage over the legality and ethics of war, Benjamin Wittes enters the fray with a sober-minded exploration of law in wartime that is definitive, accessible, and nonpartisan. Outlining how this country came to its current impasse over human rights and counterterrorism, Law and the Long War paves the way toward fairer, more accountable rules for a conflict without end.

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