Review Essay

The Lawyers’ War

Counterterrorism From Bush to Obama to Trump

In This Review

Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency
Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency
By Charlie Savage
Little, Brown, 2015, 784 pp. Purchase
Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State
Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State
By Karen J. Greenberg
Crown, 2016, 320 pp. Purchase

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has stunned the nation and the world and raised a number of critically important issues about the future of U.S. government policy. Among these are hotly contested aspects of national security law, including the extent of government surveillance and secrecy, the use of drones for targeted killings, the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists, immigration and refugee policies, and the deployment of U.S. forces in various roles across the Middle East. The stakes could not be higher: in the balance hang national security, democratic accountability, the rule of law, civil liberties, and the very nature of the republic.

Two recent books can help navigate these vital issues. Charlie Savage’s Power Wars and Karen Greenberg’s Rogue Justice both analyze the U.S. government’s handling of national security since 9/11. Their thoughtful examinations of the counterterrorism policies

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