International legal scholar Kenneth Anderson analyzes US-UN relations in each major aspect of the United Nations’ work—security, human rights and universal values, and development—and offers workable, practical principles for US policy toward the United Nations.
Peter Berkowitz examines the abuses of international law embodied in the Goldstone Report and the Gaza ﬂotilla controversy, showing how the efforts to criminalize Israel’s right to self-defense also threaten America’s vital national security interests and those of all liberal democracies defending themselves against transnational terrorists.
Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency after 9/11, by Jack Goldsmith, member of the Koret-Taube Task Force on National Security and Law explores the reasons behind Barack Obama’s decision to continue many of his predecessor’s counterterrorism policies.
Conventional wisdom holds that 9/11 sounded the death knell for presidential accountability. In fact, the opposite is true. The powers that our post-9/11 commanders in chief assumed—endless detentions, military commissions, state secrets, broad surveillance, and more—are the culmination of a two-century expansion of presidential authority. But these new powers have been met with thousands of legal and political constraints—enforced by congressional committees, government lawyers, courts, and the media—that have transformed our unprecedentedly powerful presidency into one that is also unprecedentedly accountable.
These constraints are why Obama continued the Bush counterterrorism program, and in this light, the events of the last decade should be seen as a victory, not a failure, of American constitutional government. We have actually preserved the framers’ original idea of a balanced constitution, despite the vast increase in presidential power made necessary by this age of permanent emergency.
Ten years after 9/11, the least reformed part of America’s intelligence system is not the CIA or FBI but the US Congress. In Eyes on Spies, Amy Zegart examines the weaknesses of US intelligence oversight and why those deficiencies have persisted, despite the unprecedented importance of intelligence in today’s environment. She argues that many of the biggest oversight problems lie with Congress—the institution, not the parties or personalities—showing how Congress has collectively and persistently tied its own hands in overseeing intelligence.
Benjamin Wittes issues a persuasive call for greater coherence, clarity, and public candor from the American government regarding its detention policy and practices, and greater citizen awareness of the same. In Detention and Denial, he illustrates how U.S. detention policy is a tangle of obfuscation rather than a serious set of moral and legal decisions. Far from sharpening focus and defining clear parameters for action, it sends mixed signals, muddies the legal and military waters, and produces perverse incentives. Its random operation makes a mockery of the human rights concerns that prompted the limited amount of legal scrutiny that detention has received to date. The government may actually be painting itself into a corner, leaving itself unable to explain or justify actions it may need to take in the future. The situation is unsustainable and must be addressed.
Stewart A. Baker examines the technologies we love—jet travel, computer networks, and biotech—and finds that they are likely to empower new forms of terrorism unless we change our current course a few degrees and overcome resistance to change from business, foreign governments, and privacy advocates. He draws on his Homeland Security experience to show how that was done in the case of jet travel and border security but concludes that heading off disasters in computer networks and biotech will require a hardheaded recognition that privacy must sometimes yield to security, especially as technology changes the risks to both.
Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism by Stewart Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.hooverpress.org/client/client_pages/customer.cfm#rights
Editor Wittes heads an authoritative lineup of legal experts and former government officials; together they present an agenda for reforming the statutory law governing this new battle, balancing the need for security, the rule of law, and the constitutional rights of freedom.
Click here to buy the book
Wittes evaluates the war on terror from a nonpartisan perspective that assesses the chasm between the gravity of American security needs and the inadequacy of its laws.
Click here to buy the book