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Executive & Military

Not to be Forgotten: The Case of Maher Arar

In the midst of our ongoing coverage of the content of, and fall out from, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee Report, and debates about the obligation to devise some form of accountability and remedy for the harms inflicted in our collective name, this post offers a brief reminder of another case, not mentioned in the Report, that remains one of the great injustices of the “Global War on Terror”: that of Canadian-Syrian Maher Arar.…   continue »

Guest Post: Torture Is Still on the Table

The recent Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogations is a parade of horribles. Detainees by the dozen arrested wrongfully and later released, including innocent nobodies and even men with mental disabilities. Poorly vetted interrogators with disciplinary problems and financial conflicts of interest.…   continue »

Guest Post: Drone Courts–A Response to Professor Vladeck

Editors’ note: In this post, Professors Brand, Guiora, and Barela reply to Steve Vladeck’s December 2 post, “Drone Courts: The Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem,” which addressed an article by Professors Brand and Guiora.


We are grateful for the thoughtful commentary by Professor Vladeck regarding our recent paper, “Establishment of a Drone Court: A Necessary Restraint on Executive Power,” soon to be a chapter in the book The Legitimacy of Drones: UCAVs for Cross-Border Counterterrorism edited by Steven J.…   continue »

The Washington Post Editorial Board’s (mis)conception of Congress’s role in war authorizations

In Monday’s Washington Post, the editorial board called for the next Congress to prioritize passage of an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL, but also admonished Congress not to place conditions on its authorization. The editorial states:

“Congress’s role is to authorize wars and their aims, not micromanage how they are waged.”

In other words, the proper role for members of Congress is to authorize the war, specify its objectives, and then get out of the way.…   continue »

No Impunity for Torturers

In a post called “The Torture Report is Only the First Step,” Harold Koh observed on Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s account of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program should be “more than enough to reopen investigations at the Justice Department to see whether prosecutions are warranted.” Ken Roth, who leads Human Rights Watch, made the same point in a piece published by the Washington Post over the weekend.…   continue »

The Unintended Consequences of the 2001 AUMF Sunset

I join Ryan Goodman in applauding the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under the strong leadership of its Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and many others on the Committee who fought hard to get an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIL reported out before the end of the lame duck.…   continue »

The Cost-Benefit Analysis: The Preventive Value of the Senate Torture Report

Amidst the full-throated defense of the CIA’s interrogation tactics (see, e.g., Cheney – “I’d do it again”), the President’s refusal to state whether or not abusive interrogations yielded actionable intelligence, John Brennan’s suggestion that future administrations might want to resurrect the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, and the dominant assumption that the perpetrators of torture and other abusive interrogation practices will escape prosecution, at least in the United States,  it is easy to wonder what will keep us from repeating the same mistakes again.…   continue »