Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways (Issues of Our Time)

Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways (Issues of Our Time)

by Alan M. Dershowitz
     
 

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“A path-breaking must-read for government leaders, strategists, and all concerned Americans.”—General Wesley K. Clark

In Preemption one of our nation’s foremost legal scholars puts forward a controversial new theory on crime and punishment in the postmodern world. Using the American government’s 2003 invasion of Iraq as a

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Overview

“A path-breaking must-read for government leaders, strategists, and all concerned Americans.”—General Wesley K. Clark

In Preemption one of our nation’s foremost legal scholars puts forward a controversial new theory on crime and punishment in the postmodern world. Using the American government’s 2003 invasion of Iraq as a starting point, Alan M. Dershowitz tracks our society’s increasing reliance on preemptive action. In Preemption, which Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals calls “lucid, sober, courageous, and historically informed,” Dershowitz has brought together all of his diverse and considerable talents and experiences to confront the idea of preemptive action as it applies to some of our most urgent political and moral dilemmas.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Second in the publisher's challenging new "Issues of Our Times" series, this work by the ever-ready Dershowitz questions our move (particularly noticeable post-9/11) toward preventive action in the sociopolitical arena. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
One person's ounce of prevention is another's war crime: That's the slippery slope on which renowned legal scholar and commentator Dershowitz (Why Terrorism Works, 2002, etc.) develops his latest treatise. Proof of intent was once an evidentiary requirement, or at least desideratum, before jailing someone who might do wrong or attacking a country that might harbor terrorists. No more, not since 9/11. Writes Dershowitz, "The shift from responding to past events to preventing future harms is one of the most significant but unnoticed trends in the world today." That trend works against a long tradition of deterrence, and, Dershowitz argues, prevention cannot be supported "as a general principle because so much properly depends on the values at stake." If the U.S. could invade Iraq because its ruler was presumed to be developing weapons of mass destruction, could not Saddam Hussein bomb an American city with an eye to killing exiled enemies of his regime? The two positions are not so far apart. Yet, Dershowitz allows, there can be just cause to strike first: If England had attacked Germany in the mid-1930s in order to prevent rearmament and thus WWII, we might not really know what evil had been prevented, but we would remember that Britain had acted as an unprovoked aggressor. In this light, Dershowitz examines Israel's conduct in conflicts with its Arab neighbors, some of which he regards as lawful inasmuch as they meet international criteria of self-defense, others not. He then turns to the prospects of taking preventive measures against terrorism, which seems an uncertain enterprise at best and one likely to harm democratic values. "There is a desperate need in the world for a coherent andwidely accepted jurisprudence of preemption and prevention" that would allow both self-defense and the defense of others, he writes-adding that those who advocate such prevention must be prepared to bear a heavy burden. Provocative, if unlikely to sway the present administration.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393244762
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/16/2013
Series:
Issues of Our Time
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
1 MB

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