International Law Studies


Boaz Ganor


Identifying the enemy plays a crucial role in providing the government with the authority needed to fight terrorism—from the authority to investigate threats to the authority to detain and use lethal force. The two administrations significantly differ in their understanding of the enemy, both at the organizational and individual levels. They also differ in their understanding of the boundaries of the battlefield. Ultimately, contrasting the policies adopted by the Bush and Obama administrations reveals that the early identification of the enemy by decision makers shaped the nature and scope of each administration’s counterterrorism strategies.