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Justice and the Enemy: Nuremberg, 9/11, and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Hardcover – January 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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 Weekly October 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.”

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.”

American Spectator
“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.”
Lawfare (blog)
“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." 

Washington Post
“Brief but immensely useful.” 

Sunday Telegraph
“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.”
Policy Review
“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.”
The National
“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.”
Evening Standard
“[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.

The Spectator
“Thoughtful, challenging and deeply depressing… [Shawcross] argues a compelling case… This book is lucidly argued, well informed and exceptionally well written”

The Guardian
“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.”

Daily Mail
“[Shawcross] bravely treads difficult ground that (the Liberal Left), in their blanket condemnation of the U.S. for the way it treats terrorists, prefer to skate over. For those who fear the West is trying to confront Islamist terror with one hand tied behind its back — for example, the grotesque decision by a judge to release on bail the extremist preacher Abu Qatada — he brings a welcome touch of common sense."

National Review
“A distinguished journalist, Shawcross brings a strong dose of common sense to the fevered debate over what constitutes due process and proper treatment for those now waging an unconventional war against the West.”

Melanie Philips
“There is no mistaking Shawcross’s passionate belief that, through such vacillations, the west is paralyzing itself in the face of a ruthless and very focused enemy. But he also fully acknowledges the sharp dilemmas in trying to reconcile justice and security. Both he and Lipstadt, indeed, restrain their obvious emotions to write fairly and judiciously about one of the greatest questions of our times – how a society should respond to immense evil without, on the one hand, compromising its principles or on the other committing national suicide.”

“British journalist William Shawcross tries to find some legal and moral clarity on the subject by reexamining the trials of Nazi leaders after World War II…It's with sympathy for Bush and censure for Obama that Shawcross looks back more than six decades to his father's Nuremberg colleague, Robert Jackson, for lessons on how war criminals should be tried.”


Literary Review
“Whatever one’s political views, Justice and the Enemy its provocative case with some flair. William Shawcross is an eloquent champion of expediency in the name of virtue.”

New Statesman
“The book provides a spirited defence of the notion that the US is locked into a ‘war’ with the soldiers of international terror and is entitled to kill them as ‘enemy combatants’ wherever they can be found, or else to put them on trial before a jury of US soldiers.”

About the Author

William Shawcross is a distinguished journalist who has covered international conflicts and conflict resolution, and bestselling author of many books including Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia; The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust, and Modern Conscience; Deliver Us from Evil: Warlords, Peacekeepers, and a World of Endless Conflict; Allies, and The Queen Mother. He is a chairman of Article 19, a London based charity and pressure group which defends the rights of free expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights; a board member of the International Crisis Group; and was a member of the High Commissioner for Refugees' Informal Advisory Group from 1995-2000.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586489755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586489755
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,166,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce on February 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book in the library, as it had a good title, and covered a topic I find interesting: how we judge people who don't fall easily into a catagory: specifically terrorists. They are not civilians, nor are they enemy soldiers, yet they are combatants. Unfortunately, as I started the book, I found it superficial. For example, his very brief summary of Islamic radicalism was limited to the point of being useless. It was essentially one brief chapter, with relatively few references, mainly secondary or tertiary sources. He briefly states a few well known facts, and then draws a comparison between Islamic radicalism, and Nazi totalitarianism.* It didn't matter too much initially, as the chapter was not particularly important with respect to the meat of the problem: how do we deal with the terrorist justly. Unfortunately, he then moves on to discuss the Bush administration's decisions on the detention and interrogation of suspects. Here, he again relies heavily on a limited quantity of secondary sources. (Including Jack Goldsmith's book, which you should read if you are interested in these issues.) His manner of argumentation is more of the hand waving variety, rather than the carefully reasoned and documented arguement. For example: He makes a number of statement about the value of the interrogation of Abu Zubayda, that directly contradict statements made by multiple sources including an FBI agent involved in the interrogation. That would be fine if he documented his disagreements, and provided sources for his statements. However, he basically says that the interrogation was a success only after torture was applied.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
William Shawcross looks at Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, military tribunals (and their alternative) and the precedents provided by Nuremburg. Very well-written, Justice and the Enemy looks at the issues involved in an honest way: do we really want to give unlawful combatants operating from foreign countries access to American rights and justice systems? Do we prosecute those who commit "war crimes" (direct terrorist action) but leave alone who knowingly finance and provide necessary infrastructure to commit such crimes? How perfect does the military tribunal system have to be?

Shawcross discusses al-Qaida and its sympathizers (like Major Nidal) in blunt terms, but he does not give the Bush administration a pass either when it comes to the prosecution of the captured enemy non-combatants. Shawcross provides information conveniently neglected by the mainstream media when it comes to so-called torture of detaines and their treatment at Guantanamo Bay, not to mention the amnesia they have when it comes to KSM not only admitting to his role in 9/11 but bragging about it. Shawcross pulls no punches when he talks about the ACLU and CCR involvement with defending detainees. Everyone deserves legal counsel, but not slobbering liberal lawyers like Lynne Stewart, who assisted the Blind Sheikh involved in the First World Trade Center Bombing in getting instructions to his terrorist cohorts on the outside. To be honest, it sickens me to see Cheryl Bormann, a U.S. attorney who enjoys equal rights afforded to American women, wearing a hijab for the PRIVILEGE of defending this scum.

We are fighting a war. As Justice Jackson (who is quoted in this book) pointed out, in wartime enem access to the courts cannot be used to their strategic advantage.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this very well-researched book by a man
eminently qualified on the subject was interesting
and timely considering the evil that exists, and
is growing, in today's world.
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Format: Hardcover
Events move faster today than they did in the 1940s -- or do they? In the case of eight Nazi saboteurs sneaking into the U.S. in 1942 and the trial of Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg in 1945-47 not so much, says William Shawcross in "Justice and the Enemy: Nuremberg, 9/11, and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed" (PublicAffairs, 256 pages, index, notes, $26.99).

Shawcross, a British journalist and the son of Britain's lead prosecutor at Nuremberg, provides precedents for a military commission for trying imprisoned senior Al Qaeda plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM). In today's complicated world the trial of the 9/11 mastermind and admitted murderer of American journalist Daniel Pearl raises issues-- logistical, legal, and ethical--emblematic of the challenge posed to all nations and the international community.

Shawcross elegantly considers the issues surrounding the pending trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and asks: How does society deal lawfully with the lawless?

Since the Nuremberg Trials, lawful nations have struggled to impose justice around the world, especially when confronted by tyrannical and genocidal regimes. But in Cambodia, the USSR, China, Bosnia, Rwanda, and beyond, justice has been served haltingly if at all in the face of colossal inhumanity. International Courts are not recognized worldwide. There is not a global consensus on how to punish transgressors.

Shawcross ponders a federal trial which would reward a confessed war criminal like KSM the rights of a U.S. citizen to which he is not entitled. Or would a military tribunal be appropriate -- legally, militarily, or morally? On pages 65-70 Shawcross discusses the 1942 secret military tribunal convened by President Franklin D.
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