Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror

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New Press, 2007 - Law - 326 pages
A cogent critique of the new "preventive paradigm" in counterterrorism policy by two of the nation's leading legal scholars.

"If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long."President George W. Bush, defending the National Security Strategy doctrine "preemptive war," Commencement Speech at West Point, June 1, 2002

In Steven Spielberg's science fiction thriller Minority Report, the Justice Department uses psychic visionaries to predict and prevent future crimes. President Bush has no psychic visionaries, but in fighting the war on terrorism his administration has nonetheless adopted a sweeping new "preemptive" strategy, which turns on the ability to predict the future.

At home and abroad, the administration has cut corners on fundamental commitments of the rule of law in the name of preventing future attacksfrom "waterboarding" detainees, to disappearing suspects into secret CIA prisons, to attacking Iraq against the wishes of the UN Security Council and most of the world when it posed no imminent threat of attacking us.

In this brilliantly conceived critique, two of the country's preeminent constitutional scholars argue that the great irony is that these sacrifices in the rule of law, adopted in the name of prevention, have in fact made us more susceptible to future terrorist attacks. They conclusively debunk the administration's claim that it is winning the war on terror and offer an alternative strategy in which the rule of law is an asset, not an obstacle, in the struggle to keep us both safe and free.

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LESS SAFE, LESS FREE: The Failure of Preemption in the War on Terror

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Call it speculation on disaster, the administration's policy of guessing where future threats lie and then impinging, imprisoning, invading. That policy, argue Cole (Law/Georgetown Univ.) and Lobel ... Read full review

Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

How our government should provide citizen safety during the war on terror is a source of continued debate between Congress and President Bush. Both of these books provide new and broader perspectives ... Read full review


Preventive Law Enforcement and Intelligence Gathering
Preventive War
Collateral Consequences

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About the author (2007)

David Cole is a professor of law at Georgetown University, the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.

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