Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Terror Presidency's Lawyer

Just finished The Terror Presidency, the new book by my old friend and classmate Jack Goldsmith. I recommend it -- it's not the tell-all you might wish for, but it's a pretty interesting tell-some. Jack does his best job in explaining the competing pressures the administration is under: on the one hand, those charged with protecting the country are terrified of the next terrorist attack and urgently want to be aggressive in taking every step that might block it, but on the other hand, they face pressure to be prudent and cautious lest they take actions that some later administration, independent prosecutor, or international tribunal might view as criminal. And to top it off, the laws telling them what they can and cannot do are complex and ambiguous. My distaste for the administration's hubris is certainly not erased, but I have a better understanding of the pressures they face.

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