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Samantha PowerHow real is the difference between our foes and us? One of the most incisive challenges to current debates comes from Talal Asad, whose On Suicide Bombing…takes aim less at the Bush administration than at the rest of us, and at what he sees as our unspoken complicity in "some kinds of cruelty as opposed to others." He hopes, he writes, to "disturb the reader sufficiently" by showing the hypocrisy of rules that permit murderous conduct by states but deny it to nonstate actors…Asad's book is valuable because the legal distinctions he is challenging are especially vulnerable now. They are vulnerable sociologically, in that millions—if not billions—of people around the world do not see the difference between a suicide bomber's attack on a pizzeria and an American attack on what turns out to be a wedding party. Asad's challenge is one politicians must answer if they stand any chance of recapturing hearts and minds.
—The New York Times