, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 713-715
Date: 13 Oct 2011

Review of Richard B. Miller, Terror, Religion, and Liberal Thought

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This short book amounts to a massively documented ethical reflection on both 9/11 and political responses to its aftermath. The seven chapters move from the most general to the most specific elements. They begin with the problem of religious violence and the varieties of responses to 9/11, then successively define, evaluate, and contextualize rights to life and security, arguments for toleration, respect and recognition, and the Islamic appropriation of human rights. The final chapter affirms a common subjectivity or solidarity with others while stopping short of a mandate for convergent outlooks or fused horizons.

The book’s two appendices are crucial to the argument as they revisit the US government’s response to 9/11, first in general terms concerning the right to war and self-defense, and then in specific terms regarding the moral grounds for attacking the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Was President George W. Bush morally right to invade Afghanistan as he did after 7 October 2001, initiatin