By Rory Brown
Against the backdrop of the British-American law-making and war-making of the first decade of the millennium, Fighting Monsters considers: how the way we think about law affects the way we make war and how the way we think about war affects the way we make law. The discussion is founded upon four of the martial phenomena that unsettle our complacent and flabby understandings of what law is to a liberal democracy: aggressive or 'pre-emptive' war, targeted killings, torture, and arbitrary detention. The book argues, first, that force is a quintessential - albeit ambivalent - element of any realistic, serviceable, and intellectually coherent concept of law. Second, reappraising the classic question at the intersection of martial doctrine and political philosophy in its contemporary context, the book asserts that we need not, in fighting monsters, become monstrous ourselves; that fighting partisans does not entail our own partisanship; and that we can indeed govern without dirtying our hands. Seeking to ground a total, essentialist, and practical theory of legality's sordid relationship with brutality, this broad, coherent, and original book encompasses: language and image * war and crime * liberty, security, and rationality * amity, enmity, and identity * sex, terror, and perversion * temporality, spirituality, and sublimity * economy and hegemony * parliaments, the press, and the public man.
Publication Date: 2/1/2011