Previewing Benjamin Wittes’ New Book on Law and Terror and Guantanamo
I understand that Opinio Juris will be hosting a discussion of Benjamin Wittes’ new book, Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror (Penguin 2008) when it is released for distribution on June 19. That is a very good thing to do. I have heard Ben present material from that book and My Sources have got me an advance copy, which I am now reading, and I think it is the most important new element in the discussion of terrorism, detainees, and Guantanamo to appear in years and years. In particular, Ben has done something no one else has done, so far as I know, and read word for word all the available transcripts of what the detainees themselves have actually said about who they are. He has performed an invaluable service for everyone in these arguments by trying to pull together data and not just anecdotes about the detainees. Particularly for a new Democratic administration trying to go forward next year, and trying to figure out what to do beyond the slogan, “Close Guantanamo,” Ben’s book provides crucial information, as well as core analysis on which a new administration can decide how to make new policy. I had heard parts of this before in various presentations Ben has made around DC, but reading it whole shows me just how extremely good and important this book is. Certainly I look forward to reading the Opinio Juris book discussion.