A word from Jack Goldsmith

Jack Goldsmith has sent us this response to my posts about his important article in the New Republic comparing the anti-terrorism policies of Presidents Bush and Obama:

You made some fair points about my piece but I think you were wrong to say that “Roosevelt operated at a time when foreign policy was a less partisan affair.” The isolationists that he faced in Congress and the country were a vicious and very powerful group. FDR faced a tough task in January 1941 in getting Congress on board for Lend Lease. Public opinion was against him when the debate started and with him when it ended — he moved public opinion. Bush was almost certainly in a much much better position in 2001-03 than FDR in 1940-41, for in 2001-03 the country was in favor of tough measures against terrorism, but in 1940-41 it was largely against helping Britain in Europe — at least until FDR went to Congress, made the case, and moved the country. The Bush administration got the Congress on board for military commissions and surveillance in 2006 and 2008 — they surely could have done that in 2002-03 (remember the Republicans controlled Congress.) I also do think that getting “sign on” in 2002-03 would have helped the administration a lot in itsSupreme Court battles. Of course we can never know for sure.

We thank Professor Goldsmith for his response and give him the last word for now.


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