In Case of Emergency: Misunderstanding Tradeoffs in the War on Terror

California Law Review, Vol 97, No 2, pp 301-356, 2009

56 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2009

See all articles by Stephen Holmes

Stephen Holmes

New York University School of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2009

Abstract

Emergency-room personnel are acutely aware of the serious risks posed by excessive delay. Understanding the need for immediate and unhesitating action, they nevertheless routinely consume precious time to follow protocols drilled into them and practiced in advance. Why do they do this? They do it, quite obviously, to minimize the risk of making fatal but avoidable mistakes due to the psychologically flustering pressures of the moment. The aim in this piece is to tease out some of the implications of this everyday emergency-room experience - implications, in particular, for designing a more effective response to what President Bush labeled “a national emergency.”

Keywords: counterterrorism, emergency, interrogation, liberty, secrecy, security, terrorism, torture, tradeoffs

Suggested Citation

Holmes, Stephen, In Case of Emergency: Misunderstanding Tradeoffs in the War on Terror (April 1, 2009). California Law Review, Vol 97, No 2, pp 301-356, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1495769

Stephen Holmes (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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