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Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency—Part 4


In these posts, I’ve only touched on some of the broader themes that make Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency a deeply interesting read for anyone interested in the long battle against jihadism.  And that should include all Americans.  For as Jack makes clear in his last chapter, the Terror Presidency is not the presidency of George W. Bush.  It is, rather, the state of “[e]very foreseeable post-9/11 President, Republican or Democrat”:


“For generations the Terror Presidency will be characterized by an unremitting fear of attack, an obsession with preventing the attack, and a proclivity to act aggressively and preemptively to do so.  The threats have such a firm foundation in possibility, and such a harrowing promise of enormous destruction, that any responsible executive leader aware of the threats … must assume the worst….  If anything, the next Democratic President—having digested a few threat matrices, and acutely aware that he or she alone will be wholly responsible when thousands of Americans are killed in the next attack—will be even more anxious than the current President to thwart the threat….”

Tags: Whelan


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