What is Wartime?
11 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 25, 2012
This is a short review of Mary Dudziak’s book War Time. Dudziak’s thought-provoking analysis employs a remarkable variety of material in placing the Cold War and the post-9/11 “war on terror” in a productive relationship, noting the ambiguity of both as a “wartime.” The book also, less successfully, suggests that some conventional wars, such as World War II, had the same ambiguous character. This contention is not essential to the book’s suggestive theme of the problems caused by an apparently endless state of wartime in a constitutional democracy. Nevertheless, Dudziak’s dogged effort to show that all of our pre-9/11 reality was an endless wartime sends her analysis off track. Further, her thesis of a “wartime frame,” a perspective advanced by officials to justify the expansion of government power by reassuring the public that wartime is temporary, is too broad and undifferentiated to explain the constitutional problems we experienced during the Cold War and since 9/11.
Keywords: Cold War, 9/11, wartime
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation