The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay by Jess Bravin; The General: The Ordinary Man Who Challenged Guantanamo by Ahmed Errachidi with Gillian Slovo - review by Conor Gearty

Conor Gearty

In the Chains of Command

The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay

By

Yale University Press 440pp £20 order from our bookshop

The General: The Ordinary Man Who Challenged Guantanamo

By

Chatto & Windus 196pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

More books on Guantanamo Bay? Surely the subject has been completely covered by now, with Obama in the White House, Afghanistan with the Afghans and austerity posing a threat to our wellbeing in a way that Osama bin Laden (for all the noise of his al-Qaeda gang) never truly did? In his marvellously readable and well-researched book Jess Bravin shows convincingly why this is not the case. The Terror Courts is about how a small group of men at the centre of the Bush presidency sought to use the attacks of 11 September 2001 to redefine the American constitution so that the executive branch would enjoy dictatorial powers for the duration of a ‘war on terror’ that was designed never to come to an end. From this distance it is easy to forget the breathtaking ambition of those early years: the president could do absolutely what he wanted, as commander-in-chief, just as Lincoln was supposed to have done in the Civil War or Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor. Congress was never needed or heeded – asking

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter