In recent years the mass murder of thousands of innocent civiliansby al Qaeda terrorists has plumbed the depths of criminality andimmorality. Yet it is the response to those attacks, particularlyby the United States, that has provoked widespread accusations thatthe anti-terrorist cure may be worse than the terrorist disease.
This book explores the key legal and ethical controversies thatarose in the wake of the brutal attacks of 11 September 2001. Afterthe Cold War, progress in human rights and limitations on warfarecreated an impression that "global civil society" had emerged tochallenge the dominance of states and establish new norms to guidetheir behavior. The events of 9/11, however, witnessed areassertion of state prerogatives, reflected in challenges to theGeneva Conventions and the stigma against torture. Focusing on coredebates about preventive war and the implications of targetedassassination, kidnapping, indefinite detention, and the torture ofsuspected terrorists, Evangelista asks whether state practice willfurther undermine the very norms of international law and morality,or whether efforts to combat terrorism can be brought back intoconformity with ethical and legal standards.