skip to Main Content

Book Review: The Least Worst Place (Karen Greenberg)

Continuing with the theme of armed conflict, detention, and terrorism, the latest installment in our occasional series of book reviews addresses Karen Greenberg’s The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 DaysThis review may also be found in Issue 42:3 of the Journal of International Law and Politics.

By John Wunderlin

In the preface to The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days, Karen Greenberg briefly sets out the aim of the book: to describe the early days of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, in which few abuses occurred despite incredibly trying circumstances, and to ask whether this narrative sheds any light on how later abuses came to occur and how such abuses might be avoided in the future. Perhaps in deference to the complexity and difficulty of the subject, Greenberg never tries to formulate the lessons as a set of policy prescriptions. Nevertheless, she succeeds in developing a strong understanding of how certain forces and circumstances gathered to create a disaster at Guantanamo while other forces worked to keep disaster at bay.

Read More

Thoughts on the Targeted Killings Report

By Ben Heath

To continue the discussion of Professor Philip Alston’s report on targeted killings, I can imagine no better discussion on the self-defense rationale for drone strikes than that presented by Marko Milanovic at the EJIL blog.  (At Opinio Juris, Kenneth Anderson promises a response, which will most certainly provide for interesting debate.)

I also fully agree with Milanovic’s critique of Alston’s assertion that, outside of armed conflict, “the use of drones for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.”  This statement is unncessarily conclusory: there should be some limited room for these strikes in the law enforcement paradigm of human rights, provided that the target poses a significant danger, that no opportunity for capture exists, etc.  One imagines that this might be the case in countries where the government holds only loose control over wide swaths of territory.  But, to be sure, drone strikes on the New Jersey Turnpike are almost certainly illegal.

I would not presume to step further into such well-covered ground.  Instead, I will use this space to highlight some other aspects of the report, while recognizing that these are definitely sidenotes to the major issues.

Read More
Back To Top
Search