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Posts by The Book Review Editor

Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta observed in his recent memoir that so-called “lone wolf terrorists”–terrorists who work without group assistance−are a growing threat to the internal security of the United States. It’s an observation that has been echoed by many officials and former officials. Some would respond that the threat of lone wolf . . .
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Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force

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Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 3:08 PM

I seem to have a knack for working for military services at a time when they are viewed as the redheaded stepchildren of the Department of Defense—ugly, dispensable ducklings.  When I left my position as General Counsel of the Army in early 2001, pundits were challenging the continued relevance of ground forces in the 21st . . .
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Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

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Friday, July 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM

With Iraq in a profound downward spiral (and many believing that Afghanistan could be next), the legacy of Robert M. Gates, who served so influentially as Secretary of Defense during the crucial years 2007-2011, deserves critical examination. The place to start is Gate’s recently published book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. Some readers . . .
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The Centennial of the Guns of August and the Great War

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Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Some years ago, I happened to be in London mid-November and had lunch with a dear friend, my long-time editor at the Times Literary Supplement. I noted he wore a small felt flower–a poppy, I realized–in his jacket lapel and asked him about it. He smiled somewhat ruefully and said, it’s true, Americans have never . . .
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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State

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Monday, May 26, 2014 at 6:01 PM

The most important passages of Glenn Greenwald’s new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, are those in which Greenwald states what he believes the larger significance of the Snowden disclosures to be—the passages where he gets out of the weeds of the material Snowden has given him and out . . .
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The Murder of Guatemala’s Bishop Gerardi: Muerte en el vecindario de Dios

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Friday, May 23, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Gerardi: Muerte en el vecindario de Dios Julie López F&G Editores (Guatemala City 2012) The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop? Francisco Goldman Grove Press (2007) Quien Mato Al Obispo?: Autopsia de un crimen político Maite Rico and Bertrand de la Grange Editorial Planeta Mexicana (Mexico City 2003) I A cautionary tale of . . .
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Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 11:30 PM

The relationship between the United States and China will arguably shape international order more than any other phenomenon. The US Department of Justice’s recent indictment of five members of China’s military for economic espionage has focused attention on the two countries’ disagreements over the norms of cyberspace. One could argue, though, that competition between the . . .
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The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014

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Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

In early February 2009, Richard Holbrooke, the newly named Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, took me aside at the State Department to tell me he was getting panicky messages from Pakistan’s generals about President Obama’s decision to appoint me chairman of a special review of American policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. Richard said the . . .
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Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 9:14 PM

In our conversation the other day for the Lawfare Podcast, longtime CIA lawyer John Rizzo jokingly—but only sort of jokingly—composed the first paragraph of his own obituary: “John Rizzo, who approved a controversial CIA program post-9/11 to interrogate suspects—a program that many observers [regarded] as torture—died today.” Are you comfortable with having your obituary open . . .
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Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy

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Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Leaks of classified information have probably never been as prominent and as influential in public discourse as they are today. So Rahul Sagar’s book Secrets and Leaks is exquisitely timed to help readers to think through the conundrums of government secrecy in a democracy and to consider the role of unauthorized disclosures. This is of . . .
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Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare

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Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 11:39 PM

This is a boom time in new ways to wage war. Drones and cyber get most of the attention, but if you’re committed to bringing a country to its knees, cut it off from international financial markets. This reality, along with dissatisfaction with traditional sanctions, led U.S. policymakers to develop a new way to bring . . .
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The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:38 AM

Over the past few weeks, several members of congressional intelligence committees have intimated that Edward Snowden might have been an active espionage agent. The administration has not publicly supported the theory, though it hasn’t definitively ruled it out. Some of the circumstances are, indeed, suspicious—most importantly that Snowden ended up first in Hong Kong and . . .
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Afghanistan: A Distant War

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Monday, January 13, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Afghanistan: A Distant War Robert Nickelsberg; Foreword by Jon Lee Anderson; Introduction by Ahmad Nader Nadery Prestel USA (2013) The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence Susie Linfield University of Chicago (2012) By mid-20th century, photography had evolved from its 19th century origins as a rarified domain of professional photographers into a technology of the masses; . . .
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Getting Away With Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 9:00 AM

This holiday season will mark the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the remarkable women who twice served as Pakistan’s Prime Minister and who had come to symbolize the country’s hope for a better future.  She was killed in the same park where Pakistan’s first Prime Minister was assassinated in 1951.  The Pakistani . . .
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The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel

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Monday, December 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM

In October 1999 I traveled to Mumbai, India’s financial and movie capital, to advance the visit of President Bill Clinton to the subcontinent.  Mumbai’s two great five star hotels competed with each other to convince me the President should stay in their most deluxe room.  As the President’s Special Assistant for Near East and South . . .
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Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield

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Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill—the activist-turned journalist previously known for his exposé of the military contractor formerly known as Blackwater—is a bad book. But it’s a bad book with a significantly redeeming feature. Scahill’s project is to depict the “dark side” of what he considers to be America’s unrestrained pursuit of security . . .
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A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 3:44 PM

A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja by Joost R. Hiltermann (Cambridge UP 2007) Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds (Middle East Watch Report) by George Black (Human Rights Watch 1993) I Down in a corner of my basement, among the accumulated suburban junk and detritus of middle age, are . . .
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Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin-Laden’s Final Plot Against America

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM

It was  a catastrophe narrowly averted.  In September 2009 al Qaeda planned an attack on the New York City subway system, the nation’s largest, used by over five million riders every day.  The attacks on the metro systems in Madrid, Spain in 2003 and London, England in 2005 were to be outdone by three suicide . . .
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We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (Film Reviews)

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Friday, August 23, 2013 at 6:43 AM

The year 2013 is shaping up to be a banner one for documentary film about information disclosures—both the government’s and yours. Bradley Manning’s conviction and sentencing the other day offers a good moment to take note of two new films, one of them largely about him and the events he unleashed. “Terms and Conditions May . . .
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Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History

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Sunday, June 9, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Of all the images that George Washington conjures up in the minds of Americans, surely that of war criminal must be the least likely. Yet this remarkable book begins with an account of charges levelled against Washington as a result of conduct in the French and Indian Wars in 1754. Specifically, the allegation was complicity . . .
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