Ten years after 9-11, Duke examines the legal landscape

September 2, 2011Duke Law News

Members of the Duke Law faculty with expertise in such fields as military justice, counterterrorism law and policy, foreign relations law, and constitutional law, took part in three upcoming programs that examined the post-9-11 legal and policy landscape.

Professors Charles Dunlap, Madeline Morris, and Scott Silliman were panelists at a Sept. 9 Duke University symposium titled “Did 9-11 Change Anything? Everything?” Co-sponsored by the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security (LENS), the daylong symposium began at 9:00 a.m. in Von Cannon ABC in the Bryan Center on Duke’s West Campus.

Silliman, director emeritus of LENS, and Morris, director of the Law School’s Guantanamo Defense Clinic, participated in a discussion of civil liberties in the wake of the terror attacks at 10:40 a.m. Dunlap, director of LENS, took part in a discussion titled “How We Look at the World,” at 1:30 p.m.

Dunlap also took part in a Sept. 12 panel discussion at North Carolina State University titled “The Impact of 9-11 on the U.S. National Security Establishment.” The event was, like the Duke symposium, part of a Triangle-area series titled “Reflecting on the 10th Anniversary of September 11, 2011.”

At Duke Law School on Sept. 14, Dunlap, along with Professors Curtis Bradley, Mary Dudziak, and Neil Siegel, considered how the law governing the "war on terrorism" has evolved during the ten years since the terrorist attacks. They discussed such topics as the military detention or trial of alleged terrorists, habeas corpus review, and coercive interrogation. This event was sponsored by the Program in Public Law. A recording of their discussing is available on YouTube.

The 2001 attacks changed law, policy, and warfare in myriad ways, said Dunlap, the former Deputy Judge Advocate General of the United States Air Force.

“Internal security measures now pervade every aspect of American life,” he said, offering one example. “Indeed, because 9-11 came in the midst of the information revolution, government can now employ a variety of increasingly powerful surveillance technologies within the U.S. The law — and public reflection on the rise of the national security state — has yet to catch up.

“It isn’t clear that the American public really understands how its military has changed since 9-11,” he added. “It may be more capable against lightly-armed insurgents, but it now must deter rapidly modernizing nations like China with an inventory of weaponry that is shrinking, aging, and often worn out. What is more is that much of the U.S. military has a mindset that is more comfortable with nation-building in beleaguered regions than it is contemplating what it takes to battle a sophisticated and established adversary.”