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The Cost of Confusion: Resolving Ambiguities in Detainee Treatment
Contributions to Books
  • Kenneth Anderson, American University Washington College of Law
The purpose of this essay is to explore common ground between political positions that might otherwise go unaddressed, while identifying differences in policy positions. The authors believe that there are some general principles that can be shared across progressive and conservative lines on which national counterterrorism policy should be grounded. The essay considers US counterterrorism policy with particular attention to treatment of detainees in matters of challenging detention, interrogation, and trial of detainees as sources of the principles that should guide such policy. It analyzes the existing US “war” on terror and considers future policies that would address both national security concerns and human rights/civil liberties concerns. The authors argue that whatever its strategic utility, the notion of counterterrorism policy as a “war” on terror does not work well as a legal framework domestically or abroad and needs to be rethought, with a willingness to provide a legal grounding in the only form appropriate for a democracy, namely, a legislative process that makes the tough decisions.
Publication Date
  • Terror,
  • Terrorism,
  • Hamdan,
  • Hamdi,
  • Common Article Three,
  • Enemy combatant,
  • Guantanamo,
  • Detainees,
  • War on Terror,
  • Laws of war,
  • Counterterrorism,
  • Human rights,
  • Geneva Conventions,
  • Military Commissions Act of 2006,
  • Military commissions
Citation Information
Anderson, Kenneth and Elisa Massimino. “The Cost of Confusion: Resolving Ambiguities in Detainee Treatment.” In Bridging the Foreign Policy Divide, edited by Derek Chollet et al, 34-52. New York: Routledge, 2008.