My synopsis of Laura Donohue’s The Cost of Counterterrorism: Power, Politics, and Liberty is now up on the JustSecurity blog. A couple of quick thoughts on the book:
First, it was impossible not to read in various Snowden revelations throughout the book. It read very much like a prelude to all of the different programs and oversight problems we have learned about over the past year, which suggests that Snowden’s leaks really just confirmed what security critics were already surmising. Further, considering the book was release right at the start of the smartphone explosion and the rise of “Big Data,” it’s fascinating to see how Professor Donohue talked about the capabilities of these technologies.
Second, my major criticism of the book is that it reads like a bunch of law review articles duct-taped together. This may speak volumes for how legal scholarship is produced, or how many non-fiction books are collections that build upon a certain idea or original essay. Regardless, it was impossible not to notice how jarring portions of the book were. Professor Donohue’s overall framework is to compare the national security regimes of the United States with the United Kingdom, and this leads to chapters that bounce from the Irish Troubles to American military policy in Iraq. The comparison doesn’t always hold, and it some spots feels unwarranted.