Terrorism, Freedom, and Security

From Belfer Center Studies in International Security

Terrorism, Freedom, and Security

Winning Without War

By Philip B. Heymann

A former Deputy Attorney General of the United States argues that we must preserve our civil liberties and democratic values while fighting terrorism.





A former Deputy Attorney General of the United States argues that we must preserve our civil liberties and democratic values while fighting terrorism.

On September 11, 2001, the United States began to consider the terrorist threat in a new light. Terrorism was no longer something that happened in other countries on other continents but became a pressing domestic concern for the US government and American citizens. The nation suddenly faced a protracted struggle.

In Terrorism, Freedom, and Security, Philip Heymann continues the discussion of responses to terrorism that he began in his widely read Terrorism and America. He argues that diplomacy, intelligence, and international law should play a larger role than military action in our counterterrorism policy; instead of waging "war" against terrorism, the United States needs a broader range of policies. Heymann believes that many of the policies adopted since September 11—including trials before military tribunals, secret detentions, and the subcontracting of interrogation to countries where torture is routine—are at odds with American political and legal traditions and create disturbing precedents. Americans should not be expected to accept apparently indefinite infringements on civil liberties and the abandonment of such constitutional principles as separation of powers and the rule of law. Heymann believes that the United States can guard against the continuing threat of terrorism while keeping its traditional democratic values in place.


$27.00 X ISBN: 9780262083270 228 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$9.75 T ISBN: 9780262582551 228 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • ...[A] persuasive argument for the kind of multilateral approach to fighting terrorism for which the Bush administration has shown...disdain.

    Ethan Bronner

    The New York Times Book Review

  • Heymann's indictment of the Bush administration's political irresponsibility is thus all the more compelling because of its dispassionate, precise articulation.

    Michael Stern

    The American Lawyer

  • Philip B. Heymann may rightly count among the foremost experts on counterterrorism policy in the United States.

    Mathieu Deflem

    Law & Politics Book Review

  • The legal and political analysis is sound.

    Publisher's Weekly

  • This book is a judicious and systematic guide to the various policy options at each stage of counterterrorism.

    Lawrence D. Freedman

    Foreign Affairs

  • Philip Heymann's book stands out for its restrained authority and measured judgement.

    Anthony Dworkin



  • Professor Heymann's cool-headed and incisive analysis offers sane and sensible guidelines for coping with terrorism without losing the cherished principles of a democratic society. This book is must reading for decision makers and the general public alike.

    Ariel Merari

    Head of the Political Violence Research Unit, Tel Aviv University

  • This unusually pragmatic approach to combating terrorism comes from a leading, internationally recognized expert in and teacher of criminal law. I recommend it highly to those involved or interested in the fight against this scourge which so deeply affects our lives and freedom. Its clear style will appeal to lay and professional readers.

    Richard Goldstone

    Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa, and Chairperson, International Bar Association International Task Force on Terrorism

  • Philip Heymann demonstrates that while states are improving their own mechanisms to control terrorism, adequate security in the future depends on a far broader range of measures requiring shared goals, popular support, international cooperation, and new global institutions.

    Luis Moreno Ocampo

    Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

  • This well-researched and well-written book exposes the hypocrisy and deception that lie behind the reversal of the 'no dual use' nonproliferation policy, a reversal likely to diminish long-term prospects for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the world.

    Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA)

    senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation

  • Terrorism, Freedom, and Security presents a powerful argument that not only explains why declaring a 'war' on terrorism was unwise but also presents a compelling case for relying on intelligence and law enforcement rather than military force and coercion. Phil Heymann is unequivocal in his defense of democratic values as the core of an effective American national policy for preventing terrorism. His book, grounded in knowledge of American policy as well as the experiences of other countries, is an essential foundation for the public debate we must have about the costs and benefits of alternative strategies for combating terrorism.

    Martha Crenshaw

    Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor of Global Issues and Democratic Thought, Wesleyan University

  • Philip Heymann has shown again in Terrorism, Freedom, and Security why he is one of the leading thinkers in the world on the subject of terrorism. In this brief but extraordinary book, he has laid out the old and the new, the problems and the pitfalls, the challenges and the opportunities. He has given us a sober and broad set of responses, but clearly pointed out that there are no silver bullets. And most importantly, he has reminded us that we must not forfeit our democratic values in defense of our democracy.

    Rand Beers

    former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Combating Terrorism, National Security Council, 2002-2003

  • In his latest book, Philip Heymann speaks brilliantly to the issues: terrorism is not a temporary threat. As such, we must not allow terrorists to impose their agenda on American political and economic life. Professor Heymann's most compelling characterization of our national security predicament comes in his persuasive explanation that the very solutions we devise to thwart terrorism may, in the end, exacerbate an already volatile world situation.

    General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret)

    Bradley Professor of International Security, United States Military Academy, former Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy