Less Safe, Less Free

Why America Is Losing the War on Terror

Winner of the first Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties prize, the book Zbigniew Brzezinski calls “a timely and unsparing exposure of the disastrous consequences of the ‘war on terror’ demagogy of the Bush administration”

“If [terrorists] do attack again, I hope we will have the likes of David Cole and Jules Lobel to help us think through our response.” —The New York Review of Books

In this brilliantly conceived critique, two of the country’s leading constitutional scholars argue that the Bush administration’s preemptive approach to domestic and international security has not only compromised our character but has in fact made us more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks.

In a groundbreaking analysis of efforts employed in the name of protecting its citizens—preventive detention, coercive interrogation, pretextual prosecutions, registration of Arab and Muslim men, and preventive war—law professors David Cole and Jules Lobel expose the government’s abysmal record of failed prosecutions and empty successes. The authors argue that these results, when coupled with the resentment such coercive tactics have engendered throughout the world, have left us less safe than we would be had we employed a more sensible and less controversial preventive strategy. The book concludes by proposing an alternative preventive strategy to guide us into the future.

Already standard reading for those who question the idea that “war” is the appropriate response to terrorism, Less Safe, Less Free offers an eloquent and original argument for a return to the rule of law.


“[Cole and Lobel] argue eloquently and forcefully that preventive war makes flawed foreign policy.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“One of the most important critiques to be put forward so far from the civil libertarians, [Cole and Lobel] offer unsparing criticism, muster their arguments with skill and artistry, and most importantly they offer constructive criticism of the current Bush administration model.”
Harper’s Magazine
“Highly recommended . . . clear, incisive, and informative.”
Library Journal
“A resounding argument contra administration policy, more effectively stated than Alan Dershowitz’s recent Preemption.”

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