Law, Ethics, and the War on Terror
August 2008, Polity
This book explores the key legal and ethical controversies that arose in the wake of the brutal attacks of 11 September 2001. After the Cold War, progress in human rights and limitations on warfare created an impression that "global civil society" had emerged to challenge the dominance of states and establish new norms to guide their behavior. The events of 9/11, however, witnessed a reassertion of state prerogatives, reflected in challenges to the Geneva Conventions and the stigma against torture. Focusing on core debates about preventive war and the implications of targeted assassination, kidnapping, indefinite detention, and the torture of suspected terrorists, Evangelista asks whether state practice will further undermine the very norms of international law and morality, or whether efforts to combat terrorism can be brought back into conformity with ethical and legal standards.
1. Norms versus Practice in International Law and Ethics.
2. Terrorism: Definitional Controversies.
3. Suspected Terrorists as Prisoners and Targets.
4. Preventive War: An Emerging Norm?.
5. Humanitarian Objectives in Anti-Terror Wars.
Kenneth Anderson, Opinio Juris
"It is a sad but obvious truth that studies of the ethics of
force have been something of a growth industry since the early
1990s and especially, of course, since 2001. Law, Ethics and the
War on Terror is an excellent addition to this growing body of
"Evangelista's treatment is elegant and broadly thematic,
dealing with foundational issues."
"Evangelista has produced a beautifully written, cogent and
often surprising analysis of the struggle for the future of
international humanitarian law, and indeed for the rule of law
itself. As he demonstrates, it's a struggle in which the forces of
civil society ironically find their most challenging foe in what
was once their most powerful ally – the United States."
David Cole, Georgetown University
"This meticulous study of a crucial constitutional question,
played out in real time in real life, should underpin all
knowledgeable discussions of just how the Bush administration has
sought to legitimize its lawless behaviour by declaring a state of
Eric Alterman, author of When Presidents Lie