Congress and the War on Terror

Making Policy for the Long War

by Darren A. Wheeler


More than 3,000 people died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, inciting the War on Terror that has lasted over 15 years and involved military action in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

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Cover image for Congress and the War on Terror

August 2018


Pages 218
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/General
  Current Events and Issues/Politics and Government

As the U.S. government continues the battle against terrorism, Congress—representatives of the people—must develop long-term policies that provide for national security and protect the civil liberties of the American people.

Much of the conversation surrounding the War on Terror focuses on presidential power and responses to the president's exercising that power. Often overlooked or downplayed is the role of Congress in directing the outcome of the war. This book illustrates how Congress—in conjunction with the president and the judiciary—has played a key role in laying the foundation for many post-9/11 policies in areas such as surveillance and detention.

Instead of arguing that Congress is incapable of making successful counterterrorism policy, Congress and the War on Terror objectively examines what Congress has done in the past to suggest what action may be needed in the future. Covering controversial topics including torture, interrogation, drones, and military tribunals, it shows that only understanding previous decisions will enable Americans to determine what role Congress should play as the United States fights terror.


  • Chronicles congressional policymaking in the War on Terror, notes its successes and failures, and provides recommendations to improve the congressional role in the US's fight against terror
  • Includes up-to-date examples of post-9/11 issues such as military tribunals and electronic surveillance
  • Focuses on how Congress handles conflict related to the important issue of War on Terror policymaking
  • Explores whether Congress can serve as the voice of the American people in debating the balance between national security and civil liberties
Author Info

Darren A. Wheeler earned his PhD in political science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, specializing in public law. He is currently associate professor of political science at Ball State University. Wheeler regularly teaches classes in constitutional law, terrorism, civil liberties, and the War on Terror and the rule of law. He is author of Presidential Power in Action: Implementing Supreme Court Detainee Decisions and Understanding and Using Social Media on College Campuses as well as numerous articles on implementation of judicial decisions, presidential power, civil liberties, the War on Terror, and homeland security.



"Darren A. Wheeler's carefully researched and fluidly written book makes the claim that our counter terrorism policy has been developed by all three of the branches of government working together. He gives a boost to my confidence that we may be returning to the regular-order process in the development of American foreign policy that enabled us to become a respected world leader."—Lee H. Hamilton, Former Congressman, Former House Intelligence Committee member, and Co-Chair of the 9/11 Commission

"With close and insightful analysis, Darren A. Wheeler covers the post-9/11 period on such issues as electronic surveillance, interrogation of detainees, torture, military tribunals, efforts to close Guantánamo, and the use of armed drones. Although the Supreme Court from the 1936 Curtiss-Wright case forward regularly endorsed independent presidential power in external affairs, in four decisions after 9/11 the Court from Rasul to Boumedience placed important limits on the executive authority by affirming the system of checks and balances."—Louis Fisher, Scholar in Residence, The Constitution Project

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Other Titles of Interest

Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress cover imageThe Supreme Court versus Congress cover imageA Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments, 6th Edition cover image
Counterterrorism cover imageThe 50 Worst Terrorist Attacks cover image

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