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| Atlantic Monthly Press
An Insider's Account of the War on Terror
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War by Other Means is a fascinating insider account by the key legal architect of the Bush administration’s response to 9/11.
On September 11, 2001, while America reeled from the day’s cataclysmic events and the majority of official Washington, D.C.–including most of the Justice Department–struggled through the mother of all traffic jams to leave town, John Yoo and a skeletal staff of the Office of Legal Counsel stayed behind. They quickly found themselves on the phone with the White House. The day’s attacks called for a response, but the scope of the president’s legal authority to act was unclear.
In a series of memos to the White House, Yoo offered his legal opinions, and in the process had an almost unmatched impact on America’s fight against terrorism. His analysis led to many of the Bush administration’s most controversial policies, including detention at Guantanamo Bay, coercive interrogation, military trials for terrorists, preemptive attacks, and the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program. Yoo also played a key role in framing parts of the Patriot Act, and in the Bush administration’s decision that the Geneva Conventions are irrelevant for “illegal enemy combatants.”
Like Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies, War by Other Means offers an insider account of the contexts, facts, and personalities behind the War on Terror. In fascinating detail, Yoo also examines specific cases, from John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla to an American al-Qaeda leader assassinated by a CIA pilotless drone in the deserts of Yemen. And no one is more qualified to write on the legal aspects of the War on Terror than John Yoo.
In a midterm election year, when the controversies over the president’s handling of the War on Terror are sure to wage more forcefully than ever before, John Yoo’s War by Other Means is set to become one of the fall’s most talked about books.
On John Yoo:
“Few lawyers have had more influence on President Bush’s legal policies in the ‘War on Terror’ than John Yoo. This is a remarkable feat, because Yoo was not a Cabinet official, not a White House lawyer, and not even a senior officer within the Justice Department. . . . Yet by all accounts, Yoo had a hand in virtually every major legal decision involving the U.S. response to the attacks of September 11.” –David Cole, The New York Review of Books
“The White House is attempting to create a kind of 9/11 Constitution . . . a strong commitment to inherent presidential authority over national security, including a belief that in crucial domains the president can act without congressional permission, and indeed cannot be checked by congressional prohibitions. . . . The most important theorist of the 9/11 Constitution is John Yoo.” –Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic
“John Yoo deserves much credit for helping open up a secretive subject for public discussion, even when it has meant unpleasantness for himself. . . . Yoo lives in a firestorm. In the past few months alone, international lawyers have called for his criminal indictment, students have broken into his classroom at Berkeley . . . to stage a mock detainee hearing, and lecture halls where he is scheduled to speak have been boycotted. . . . Yoo should be commended for not hiding behind the standard Washington cliché of saying, ‘That’s classified; I can’t talk about it.'” –Neal Kaytal, Washington Post
“John Yoo has joined the battle–openly, vigorously, learnedly . . . on the great issues of the day. By clarifying the theory of government on which the current administration relies in waging war and pursuing peace, he has rendered a genuine service to all, on both sides of the aisle, who wish to uphold the Constitution and defend the nation.” –Peter Berkowitz, New York Post on The Powers of War and Peace
John Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. From 2001 to 2003 he worked as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice. He has published articles in a number of the nation’s leading law journals, opinion pieces in the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Los Angeles Times, and an academic legal book, The Powers of War and Peace.
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