Terrorism

Terrorism is the random killing of innocent people, in the hope of creating pervasive fear. “Randomness and innocence are the crucial elements in the definition,” according to Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science. Terrorism attacks the notion of innocence and treats civilians as legitimate targets. 

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, discusses how the increasing use of drones has become the most controversial aspect of the U.S. “war” on terrorism—more so than even the failure to close Guantanamo.

On December 11, 2003, when asked in a press conference whether his Iraq policy was consistent with international law, President George W. Bush joked, “International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn’t bring that up to me.”

But, in fact...

Does war have a time? The idea of “wartime” is regularly invoked by scholars and policymakers, but the temporal element in warfare is rarely directly examined. I came to the Institute in 2007–08 intent on exploring the history of war’s impact on...

In 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case of Grutter v. Bollinger and upheld the right of the University of Michigan Law School to use race as a criterion for admissions. At the time, the majority speculated that in...

­­The security of a nation and the safety of its population versus the protection of constitutional liberties and human rights is a quandary that arose in the aftermath of 9/11, but it is not novel to the twenty-first century. Discrimination...

Jihadism today has a strong transnational and anti-Western character, but this was not always the case. The first jihadists were revolutionaries who fought in their home countries against their respective governments from the 1940s onward. Only...

In this lecture, David Cole, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, discusses how it became legal in the United States to engage in techniques such as water boarding by examining the role of lawyers in the Justice...

The work of one of America’s foremost political thinkers, Michael Walzer, was celebrated at “Justice, Culture, and Tradition,” a three-day conference held in Wolfensohn Hall at the Institute for Advanced Study on June 2–4. Professor Emeritus in...

In the public lecture "Terrorism and Just War," Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science, explores multiple questions: First, what is wrong with terrorism? The query may seem easy, but it is often...

Lakhdar Brahimi, former Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has spent the last year as a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, participating in the School of Social Science’s program on “The ‘Third...