Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed and President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act—legislation intended to thwart the threat of domestic terrorism. Critics were quick to denounce USA Patriot as a dangerous expansion of government power at the expense of our civil liberties. Are the critics right? Or can we win the war on terrorism without sacrificing our civil liberties here at home? And what has the American experience in earlier crises, such as the Civil War and the two world wars, taught us about balancing national security and personal freedom?
In 2002, the Bush administration published a new National Security Strategy, which argued that, in the twenty-first century, it was necessary for the United States not merely to defend itself but to use military force to prevent threats such as terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction. Is preventive force just? Is it effective? And what can the biggest example of this doctrine in action, the war in Iraq, tell us about the future of preventive force? Peter Robinson speaks with Victor Davis Hanson, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Stephen Stedman.
Do enemy combatants in the war on terror have any legal rights? The United States now holds more than 650 persons captured during the war on terrorism at our naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba. The government is holding them indefinitely, without charging them and without offering them access to American courts or legal counsel. Is this legal? Do federal courts have jurisdiction in this matter, or do these detainees exist completely outside of the American legal system?
George W. Bush, during the 2000 presidential campaign said that "America has never been an empire... We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused." Was then-candidate Bush right when he made those remarks? Or has America become an imperial power in all but name? How do America's unique historical circumstances predispose it to handle the unrivaled power it holds in the world today? And what lessons can we draw from our nearest historical antecedent, the British Empire of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries?
Now that the war with Iraq is over, will our strained relations with our longtime European allies and the United Nations return to "normal"? Is that even desirable? Or are we witnessing the emergence of a fundamentally new structure of international relations?
Over the past year, the clashes between the Bush administration and European leaders over the best way to handle Saddam Hussein have led many observers to suggest that the half-century-long alliance between Western Europe and the United States is dead. How serious is the rift between Europe and America, and why has it emerged? Is it still in the strategic interest of the United States to maintain tens of thousands of troops in Europe, or should we pull out of NATO altogether?
Do the neoconservatives know how to win the war on terror? Much has been made of the influence within the Bush administration of neoconservatives—those who tend to take a hard line in the war on terror and who favored the war in Iraq. Recently two men close to the Bush administration, Richard Perle and David Frum, wrote a book laying out the neoconservative agenda for winning the war on terror and making America safe. Their agenda is bold and ambitious. Critics would say it is reckless and dangerous. Who's right?
The Koret-Taube Task Force on National Security and Law met at the Hoover Institution on Thursday, January 5, 2012, to discuss the pressing challenges the United States confronts as it seeks, consistent with the Constitution and the international laws of war, to defend the nation and, where necessary, wage war.
Uzi Arad visited the Hoover Institution on Friday, April 26, 2013, to discuss Israel’s national security challenges and US-Israel relations.
General Wesley K. Clark served as supreme allied commander of NATO from 1997 to 2000 and directed the allied war effort in Kosovo in 1999. What lessons has General Clark drawn from the war over Kosovo? How should the use of force be applied in an era of competing demands from the public, domestic political leaders, and international allies? Did this war prove that the United States can rely on technology to apply force without casualties, or did it prove that ground troops, now as ever, are critical to achieving military objectives?
Does the war on terrorism threaten our civil liberties? Benjamin Franklin famously admonished, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Are we today being asked to give up essential liberties for temporary safety? If so, is it worth it? Or are the fears that the government's war on terrorism will trample our freedoms overblown?
In the Journal today...
In the modern democratic era, it's not uncommon for elected leaders to have little or no military training or experience. It has become an accepted notion that political leaders should therefore leave battle plans and campaign decisions to the military commanders and avoid "micromanaging" war. But is that notion correct? Or was Clemenceau right when he said that "war is too important to be left to the generals"? What lessons can we learn from studying the greatest wartime leaders, such as Lincoln, Churchill, and FDR?
The U.S. government could go a long way toward building understanding in the Middle East by backing the study of Arabic. By Peter Berkowitz.
These essays from a diverse group of distinguished contributors deepen our understanding of the new national security threats posed by terrorism, by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and by the spread of Islamic extremism. They examine the obstacles to making U.S. intelligence more capable and offer recommendations for effective reform.
A book party to signal the debut of Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11, by the Honorable Richard A. Posner, was held June 7 in Washington, D.C.
As Barack Obama begins his second term as president of the United States, the nation faces a range of formidable challenges at the intersection of which are national security and law.
In this edition, members of the Hoover Institution’s Jean Perkins Task Force on National Security and Law deftly explore the complex considerations—technological, legal, political, and strategic—that should inform government’s ability to conduct electronic surveillance and keep secrets while protecting citizens’ rights and ensuring democratic accountability.