Why America Is Losing the War on Terror

I highly recommend the new book by David Cole and Jules Lobel, “Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror.” Cole and Lobel are law professors and Constitutional scholars. The writing is very accessible to the layperson.

Below are a couple of quotes from the introduction to the book. (Cole and Lobel are talking about the government’s “preventive paradigm” approach in the so-called war on terror and the consequences for the rule of law, which the Bush administration treats as “optional protocols.”):

P.2 “The rule of law demands, at a minimum, equality, transparency, fair procedures, individual culpability, clear rules, checks and balances, and respect for basic human rights. Bush’s preventive paradigm has violated each of these commitments, imposing double standards on the most vulnerable, operating in secret, denying fair trials, imposing guilt by association, intentionally obscuring clear rules, asserting unchecked unilateral power, and violating universal prohibitions on torture, disappearance, and the like.”

P.5 “The preventive paradigm renders the rule of law virtually unrecognizable. The rule of law, after all, is designed to subject state power to careful checks, to scrupulously enforce the line between guilt and innocence, and to hold government officials accountable to clear rules. These ideals mix uneasily with the strategies of the preventive paradigm, which generally demand sweeping executive discretion, eschew questions of guilt or innocence (because no wrong has yet occurred), and substitute secrecy and speculation for accountability and verifiable fact.”

P.10 “In preventive-paradigm immigration initiatives, the administration called in 80,000 foreign nationals for fingerprinting, photographing, and “special registration,” simply because they came from predominantly Arab or Muslim countries, sought out another 8,000 young men from the same countries for FBI interviews, and placed more that 5,000 foreign nationals here in preventative detention. Yet as of January 2007, not one of these individuals stands convicted of terrorist crime. The government’s record, in what is surely the largest campaign of ethnic profiling since the Japanese internment of World War II, is 0 for 93,000.”

Buy the book at Amazon.com