An Insider’s Critique of the War on Terror

Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith will soon be offering up his own critical account of the Bush Administration’s post-9/11 legal justifications for the war on terror. Here’s the abstract of his forthcoming book, “The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration,” courtesy of

A central player’s account of the clash between the rule of law and the necessity of defending America.

Jack Goldsmith’s duty as head of the Office of Legal Counsel was to advise President Bush what he could and could not do…legally. Goldsmith took the job in October 2003 and began to review the work of his predecessors. Their opinions were the legal framework governing the conduct of the military and intelligence agencies in the war on terror, and he found many—especially those regulating the treatment and interrogation of prisoners—that were deeply flawed.

Goldsmith is a conservative lawyer who understands the imperative of averting another 9/11. But his unflinching insistence that we abide by the law put him on a collision course with powerful figures in the administration. Goldsmith’s fascinating analysis of parallel legal crises in the Lincoln and Roosevelt administrations shows why Bush’s apparent indifference to human rights has damaged his presidency and, perhaps, his standing in history.

Should make for a fascinating, and no doubt controversial, read. Thanks to Peter Spiro over at Opinio Juris for calling this to my attention.

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1 Response

  1. Adam says:

    Which Administration officials *aren’t* writing books? They only two who I don’t expect to see within book projects are Karl Rove (who doesn’t strike me as the introspective type) and President Bush (same).

    I thought that Team Clinton wrote a lot of books, but this Administration puts it to shame!