Academic journal article Military Review

WAR BY OTHER MEANS: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror

Academic journal article Military Review

WAR BY OTHER MEANS: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror

Article excerpt

WAR BY OTHER MEANS: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror, John Yoo, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2006, 292 pages, $24.00.

At first glance, John Yoo's War by Other Means looks like an extension of the ongoing, seemingly academic debate on the legal application of the term "war" to current operations against Al-Qaeda's global terror network. Yoo's background as a legal counsel for the Department of Justice and his initial focus on the president's legal authority as the commander-in-chief appear to doom his book to an indifferent reception among military professionals. However, once Yoo begins his lengthy analysis of wartime decisions, the military relevance emerges, and War by Other Means becomes a book that every leader should read.

Yoo explains, then subsequently explores, the importance of aie terminology debate that often seems so academic to those in uniform. The definition of a single three-letter word-war-decides whether we confine intractable enemy combatants until they no longer pose a threat to our freedom or bestow upon them the rights and due process of our justice system. One word stands between wartime detainment and burdening our legal system with thousands of enemy combatants and known terrorists. One simple word.

In War by Other Means, Yoo addresses this dilemma from a number of perspectives, ranging from the Geneva Conventions and the Patriot Act to interrogations and military commissions. He discusses the danger of trying terror suspects such as José Padilla and John Walker Lindh in our courts, and the equally dangerous precedent of offering foreign terrorists and enemy combatants open access to our legal system. …

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