The Laws of War

Stopping torture and changing the policies of the Bush administration may not be enough. With a whole new type of terrorist bred from extraordinary rendition and torture, the last eight years may well prove inescapable.

Issue: Mar-Apr 2009

Matthew Alexander and John Bruning, How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq (New York: Free Press, 2008), 304 pp., $26.00.

David Cole, Justice at War: The Men and Ideas that Shaped America's War on Terror (New York: New York Review of Books, 2008), 176 pp., $14.95.

Karen Greenberg, The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 288 pp., $27.95.

Eric Lichtblau, Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice (New York: Pantheon, 2008), 384 pp., $26.95.

Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (New York: Doubleday, 2008), 400 pp., $27.50.

 

WITH AN order to close Guantánamo, the Obama administration has acted quickly to move away from the Bush administration's policies in what it called the "war on terror." But much more needs to be done to undo the damage to America's reputation abroad-not just in the Muslim world-and to lessen the chances of starting another chapter in the erosion of America's civil liberties. And not all measures will be difficult. For starters, President Barack Obama should follow the lead of Britain's Gordon Brown, who, upon becoming prime minister, stopped using the phrase "war on terror."

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!