Shawcross (Deliver Us from Evil), son of the chief British prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, considers the legal and political issues surrounding the detention and trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. The Nuremberg trials, which introduced the concept of “crimes against humanity,” became the precedent for postwar justice, highlighting the difficulty of properly prosecuting “those who commit hideous and unprecedented crimes.” Using the judgment of Justice Robert Jackson, the lead American prosecutor at Nuremberg, as a guide, Shawcross explores what form of justice the al-Qaeda defendants should receive, the pros and cons of military versus federal courts, the admissibility of evidence gained under the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and the differing policies of the Bush and Obama administrations regarding “unlawful combatants,” the Geneva Conventions, Guantánamo, and justice. He takes liberal-leaning groups like the ACLU to task for their zeal in defending (and delaying the military trials) of “Islamists who wish to destroy western society,” and finds his native Britain becoming a dangerous breeding ground for Islamist extremism among young Muslims. Concluding that prisoners will have far greater right in military tribunals now than they did at Nuremberg, this thoughtful, passionately right-wing study underscores the thorny difficulties the U.S. has faced in bringing the September 11 attackers to court. (Jan.)
“The examination is elegant and fast-reading… Many things make Justice and the Enemy a worthy read, starting with the author’s recitation of the history.”
New York Times Book Review
"A reminder that critical contemporary judgments about wartime justice do not always persist."
“Brief but immensely useful.”
“This is a clear-minded, thoughtful and unsentimental book that succeeds brilliantly in showing that it is not the job of overpaid, posturing lawyers to removed every element of lethal risk on behalf of fanatical mass murderers.”
“A probing analysis grounded in history, law, and politics…By clarifying the dilemmas that America faces in justly defeating its jihadist enemies and by putting into perspective both America’s achievement and errors in the struggle against Islamist terrorism, Shawcross shows himself a true friend of freedom and democracy.”
“a daring plunge into a debate that has become an emotional minefield… Credit Shawcross for striving to guide readers through a moral labyrinth out of which he makes no definite claims to know the path.”
Kirkus, October 10, 2011
“A controversial intervention into the ongoing political and legal argument about whether and how to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators for their role in the 9/11 attack… Shawcross (The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, 2009, etc.) takes a no-holds-barred approach to the issues involved in putting the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 on trial for their crimes… Sure to cause further heated debate on the Mohammed situation and other similar scenarios.”
Publishers WeeklyOctober 3, 2011
“Shawcross explores what form of justice the al-Qaeda defendants should receive, the pros and cons of military versus federal courts, the admissibility of evidence gained under the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ and the differing policies of the Bush and Obama administrations regarding ‘unlawful combatants,’ the Geneva Conventions, Guantánamo, and justice…. This thoughtful, passionately right-wing study underscores the thorny difficulties the U.S. has faced in bringing the September 11 attackers to court.”
“[Shawcross] returns to the political fray with a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over how Western democracies should deal with terrorists… This subject, and book, will be controversial. But it will also be of increasing relevance in the years ahead. Shawcross's work distinguishes itself not just by taking on a subject most other writers have shied away from but by reaching answers. It should be read by policy-makers and public alike.
“Thoughtful, challenging and deeply depressing… [Shawcross] argues a compelling case… This book is lucidly argued, well informed and exceptionally well written”
“Shawcross is a voice worth listening to in today's tongue-biting culture because he is not frightened to call things by their proper names… Readers who rely on the liberal media for their opinions should seek out a copy of Justice and the Enemy. Opinions that are never tested are mere prejudices, and Shawcross presents a sober account of debates you are unlikely to hear.”
Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas Blog, October 28, 2011
“[Shawcross] has written the best book yet on the dilemmas Western governments face in dealing with Islamic terrorists…Shawcross writes carefully, without bluster and exaggeration, and the effect is a damning indictment of much of the popular rhetoric of the decade after 9/11 that insisted we had no legal or moral right to deal with al Qaeda kingpins as we had in the past with other such terrorists and criminals.”
Booklist, December 1, 2011
“Shawcross here addresses the timely and thorny question of how best to prosecute international terrorists… Those seeking a more policy-focused review of recent developments should start with this work.”
“Shawcross makes telling points on a variety of issues and sub-issues, from waterboarding and the hard intelligence it has provided, to the ramifications of warfare by drone, to the reasons for the kid glove treatment afforded by the West to Islamic fanatics.”
Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Shawcross vividly surveys the score of issues arising from the war on terror, and his judgments are sound, because they look to history and practice, not ideology.”
Well-known journalist Shawcross (Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia), son of Britain's lead prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crime trials, undertakes the task of defending the U.S. prosecution of al-Qaeda detainees, particularly Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Using the Nuremberg trials and the opinions of Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, chief U.S. prosecutor at the trials, as his lodestar, he finds support for military commissions to try those accused of being terrorists. Shawcross begins with the origins of the Nuremberg trials and moves to the history of al-Qaeda, then the legal underpinnings of the military tribunals. Given stateless actors not bound by rules of war, he argues that the use of drones and enhanced interrogation techniques is lawful. While the U.S. government has faced great difficulties handling the prosecution of terrorists, it has, according to the author, Nuremberg as a useful precedent. VERDICT What distinguishes the book is the quality of the writing and analysis; regardless of their personal political views, readers will find Shawcross makes a nuanced argument. Clear, briskly written, and persuasive—of interest to those on all sides of the issue.—Harry Charles, St. Louis
A controversial intervention into the ongoing political and legal argument about whether and how to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators for their role in the 9/11 attack. British writer and commentator Shawcross (The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, 2009, etc.) takes a no-holds-barred approach to the issues involved in putting the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 on trial for their crimes. His argument is embedded in parallels concerning World War II and the application of justice to Nazi war criminals. Shawcross' father was the British prosecutor at the Nuremberg war-crimes tribunal; at that time there were differences of opinion among the allies. Churchill favored summary execution of top Nazis, without recourse to trial. Stalin proposed eliminating the top 50,000 officials. Truman was in favor of the trials and appointed Robert Jackson to represent the U.S. Shawcross believes that the Nuremberg trials provide a precedent for the current situation, and he argues that military commissions, or tribunals, are well established in U.S. law. A key precedent, he writes, was provided by Ex Parte Quirin 1942, in which German spies were to be tried by military commission. Justice Jackson wrote one of the opinions and upheld tribunals as within the war powers of the presidency. Shawcross similarly supports the Bush administration's decisions on illegal combatants and believes that Mohammed, waterboarded more than 180 times, was not necessarily a victim of torture. Sure to cause further heated debate on the Mohammed situation and other similar scenarios.