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The US response to 9-11 was exceptional. The 'war on terror' went against the norm in the sense of being unusual and it challenged certain international norms as articulated in international law. This book focuses on four specific exceptions: US policy on the targeting, prosecution, detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists. These exceptionalist arguments enabled controversial practices such as the invasion of Iraq, targeted killings or assassination,indefinite detention at Guantánamo, trial by military commission, and aggressive interrogations or torture. The book considers the political strength of these arguments in the post-Bush period and concludes that the post-9/11 exception continues to influence US policy despite the election ofPresident Obama.
Jason Ralph is author of Defending the Society of States: Why America Opposes the International Criminal Court and its Vision of World Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). His research and teaching interests include US and British foreign and security policy, human rights, and international law and organisation. He is Professor of International Relations at the University of Leeds.