Synopses & Reviews
Since the Nuremberg Trials of 1945, lawful nations have struggled to impose justice around the world, especially when confronted by tyrannical and genocidal regimes. But in Cambodia, the USSR, China, Bosnia, Rwanda, and beyond, justice has been served haltingly if at all in the face of colossal inhumanity. International Courts are not recognized worldwide. There is not a global consensus on how to punish transgressors.
The war against Al Qaeda is a war like no other. Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s founder, was killed in Pakistan by Navy Seals. Few people in America felt anything other than that justice had been served. But what about the man who conceived and executed the 9/11 attacks on the US, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? What kind of justice does he deserve? The U.S. has tried to find the high ground by offering KSM a trial – albeit in the form of military tribunal. But is this hypocritical? Indecisive? Half-hearted? Or merely the best application of justice possible for a man who is implacably opposed to the civilization that the justice system supports and is derived from? In this book, William Shawcross explores the visceral debate that these questions have provoked over the proper application of democratic values in a time of war, and the enduring dilemma posed to all victors in war: how to treat the worst of your enemies.
Kirkus, October 10, 2011
“A controversial intervention into the ongoing political and legal argument about whether and how to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators for their role in the 9/11 attack… Shawcross (The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, 2009, etc.) takes a no-holds-barred approach to the issues involved in putting the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 on trial for their crimes… Sure to cause further heated debate on the Mohammed situation and other similar scenarios.”Publishers Weekly October 3, 2011“Shawcross explores what form of justice the al-Qaeda defendants should receive, the pros and cons of military versus federal courts, the admissibility of evidence gained under the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ and the differing policies of the Bush and Obama administrations regarding ‘unlawful combatants,’ the Geneva Conventions, Guantánamo, and justice…. This thoughtful, passionately right-wing study underscores the thorny difficulties the U.S. has faced in bringing the September 11 attackers to court.”
Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas Blog, October 28, 2011
“[Shawcross] has written the best book yet on the dilemmas Western governments face in dealing with Islamic terrorists…Shawcross writes carefully, without bluster and exaggeration, and the effect is a damning indictment of much of the popular rhetoric of the decade after 9/11 that insisted we had no legal or moral right to deal with al Qaeda kingpins as we had in the past with other such terrorists and criminals.”
Booklist, December 1, 2011
“Shawcross here addresses the timely and thorny question of how best to prosecute international terrorists… Those seeking a more policy-focused review of recent developments should start with this work.”American Spectator“Shawcross makes telling points on a variety of issues and sub-issues, from waterboarding and the hard intelligence it has provided, to the ramifications of warfare by drone, to the reasons for the kid glove treatment afforded by the West to Islamic fanatics.” Wall Street Journal“Mr. Shawcross vividly surveys the score of issues arising from the war on terror, and his judgments are sound, because they look to history and practice, not ideology.” Lawfare (blog)“The examination is elegant and fast-reading… Many things make Justice and the Enemy a worthy read, starting with the author’s recitation of the history.”
New York Times Book Review"A reminder that critical contemporary judgments about wartime justice do not always persist."
“Brief but immensely useful.” Sunday Telegraph“This is a clear-minded, thoughtful and unsentimental book that succeeds brilliantly in showing that it is not the job of overpaid, posturing lawyers to removed every element of lethal risk on behalf of fanatical mass murderers.”
Policy Review “A probing analysis grounded in history, law, and politics…By clarifying the dilemmas that America faces in justly defeating its jihadist enemies and by putting into perspective both America’s achievement and errors in the struggle against Islamist terrorism, Shawcross shows himself a true friend of freedom and democracy.” The National“a daring plunge into a debate that has become an emotional minefield… Credit Shawcross for striving to guide readers through a moral labyrinth out of which he makes no definite claims to know the path.” Evening Standard
“[Shawcross] returns to the political fray with a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over how Western democracies should deal with terrorists… This subject, and book, will be controversial. But it will also be of increasing relevance in the years ahead. Shawcross's work distinguishes itself not just by taking on a subject most other writers have shied away from but by reaching answers. It should be read by policy-makers and public alike.
“Thoughtful, challenging and deeply depressing… [Shawcross] argues a compelling case… This book is lucidly argued, well informed and exceptionally well written”
“Shawcross is a voice worth listening to in today's tongue-biting culture because he is not frightened to call things by their proper names… Readers who rely on the liberal media for their opinions should seek out a copy of Justice and the Enemy. Opinions that are never tested are mere prejudices, and Shawcross presents a sober account of debates you are unlikely to hear.”Daily Mail“[Shawcross] bravely treads difficult ground that (the Liberal Left), in their blanket condemnation of the U.S. for the way it treats terrorists, prefer to skate over. For those who fear the West is trying to confront Islamist terror with one hand tied behind its back — for example, the grotesque decision by a judge to release on bail the extremist preacher Abu Qatada — he brings a welcome touch of common sense."
“A distinguished journalist, Shawcross brings a strong dose of common sense to the fevered debate over what constitutes due process and proper treatment for those now waging an unconventional war against the West.”
“There is no mistaking Shawcross’s passionate belief that, through such vacillations, the west is paralyzing itself in the face of a ruthless and very focused enemy. But he also fully acknowledges the sharp dilemmas in trying to reconcile justice and security. Both he and Lipstadt, indeed, restrain their obvious emotions to write fairly and judiciously about one of the greatest questions of our times – how a society should respond to immense evil without, on the one hand, compromising its principles or on the other committing national suicide.”
“British journalist William Shawcross tries to find some legal and moral clarity on the subject by reexamining the trials of Nazi leaders after World War II…It's with sympathy for Bush and censure for Obama that Shawcross looks back more than six decades to his father's Nuremberg colleague, Robert Jackson, for lessons on how war criminals should be tried.”
Literary Review“Whatever one’s political views, Justice and the Enemy its provocative case with some flair. William Shawcross is an eloquent champion of expediency in the name of virtue.”
“The book provides a spirited defence of the notion that the US is locked into a ‘war’ with the soldiers of international terror and is entitled to kill them as ‘enemy combatants’ wherever they can be found, or else to put them on trial before a jury of US soldiers.”
The bestselling author--son of a lead prosecutor at Nuremberg--considers the issues surrounding the pending trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and asks: How does society deal lawfully with the lawless?
About the Author
William Shawcross is a distinguished journalist who has covered international conflicts and conflict resolution, and bestselling author of many books including Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia; The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust, and Modern Conscience; Deliver Us from Evil: Warlords, Peacekeepers, and a World of Endless Conflict; Allies, and The Queen Mother. He is a chairman of Article 19, a London based charity and pressure group which defends the rights of free expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights; a board member of the International Crisis Group; and was a member of the High Commissioner for Refugees' Informal Advisory Group from 1995-2000.