2001 September 16

Bush Promises “Wrathful, Shadowy and Inventive War,” Delivers on Promise


Five days after the terrorist attacks on the U.S., on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush on this day promised a “wrathful, shadowy and inventive war.”

Bush delivered on his promise. The administration’s war on terrorism included massive violations of civil liberties, torture (see the notorious “torture memo” of August 1, 2002), spying (see the New York Times exposure of secret and illegal NSA spying on December 28, 2005), secrecy, contempt for international law and standards of human decency, CIA kidnapping of terrorist suspects around the world, in a practice known as extraordinary rendition, and unprecedented claims of presidential power (see the Supreme Court decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld on June 28, 2004, in which the Court rejected the Bush administration argument that captured “enemy combatants” had no right of access to the federal courts).

See also the separate entry for this day, when Vice President Dick Cheney promised to work “the dark side” in the war against terrorism.

Read: Susan Herman, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy (2011)

Follow a timeline on post-9/11 events in the war on terrorism: http://www.investigatingpower.org/timelines/9-11/

Read the ACLU Report on “Ten Years After 9/11”: https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/acalltocourage.pdf

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