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Nevertheless, “The Shock and Awing of America” should be a wake-up call for citizens who have too readily accepted an alarming growth of arbitrary governmental power in the name of waging a war on terrorism. Miss Ortiz makes a compelling case that the United States has reacted in unhealthy, dangerous ways to the trauma of Sept. 11.

Americans ignore her timely warning only at the peril of their nation’s well-being and their own fundamental freedoms.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is the author of nine books and more than 550 articles and policy studies on international affairs, civil liberties and other topics.