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Standard Operating Procedure Hardcover – May 15, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
I had not followed closely the news as it broke of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, indelibly and graphically documented via photographs. So STANDARD OPERATING PROCUEDURE is essentially my introduction to yet another disgrace, yet another blot on America's honor. (To cite just one example, which does not figure prominently in the book: how on earth can a decent society condone, much less actually practice on a regular basis, incarcerating ten-year-old children in a vile prison, based not on any suspicion that they were criminals or terrorists, but simply as pawns in the military's effort to capture or break their fathers?)
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE is reasonably well-written and, from everything I can tell from internal evidence, the product of a scrupulous effort to be objective. And it certainly is sensitive to all aspects -- whether good, bad, or indifferent -- of the personality and character of the central actors.
What the book does not tell us -- something that may well be impossible to ascertain -- is who really is to blame for these atrocities. I am not referring to the everyday political "blame game"; whether or not the war in Iraq was ill-advised and launched with faulty or fictitious intelligence or with unworthy motives, Abu Ghraib cannot be placed solely at the feet of George W. Bush and the rest of his administration.Read more ›
And the heart of the story concerns the individuals who took, and appeared in those photos, much, I'm sure to their regret. Most of the aforementioned sentient beings can recall the name of one: Lynndie England. Yes, she is the one who was holding the leash which was connected to an Iraqi prisoner on all fours. Perhaps the iconic image of the war.Read more ›
I would refer those who are curious or disappointed about the absence of photographs in this book to a NYT op-ed by co-author, Phillip Gourevitch ([...]), from which I have culled the pertinent excerpts that follow.
"... Who are we trying to fool, if not ourselves, if we pretend that we need more photos to know what has been going on?
Crime-scene photographs, for all their power to reveal, can also serve as a distraction, even a deterrent, from precise understanding of the events they depict. Photographs cannot show us a chain of command, or Washington decision making. Photographs cannot tell stories. They can only provide evidence of stories, and evidence is mute; it demands investigation and interpretation.
I spent more than a year living with the photographs from Abu Ghraib while writing a book about the soldiers who took them and appeared in them. I saw many more pictures than were ever published in the press, including, I believe, many -- if not most -- of the photos that the president would now prefer that you don't see.
Yet in order to tell the story of the pictures most effectively, I decided not to include any of them in the book. I had more than two million words of interviews to work with, and as many words again of government paperwork, and in this way I could show that most of the worst things that happened at Abu Ghraib were never photographed. What those soldier-photographers revealed to us with their cameras was just a hint of what they have to tell us if only we would listen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Man, I sincerely wished I loved this more because I'm a big fan of Gourevitch and "We Regret to Inform You Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families" was one of the most... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
On November 20th 1969 I was sitting in the the Doctor's lounge of Tunbridge Wells Hospital with a friend, both of us had worked for the British Medical Team in Saigon. Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by Melvyn Bowler
1. Gourevitch interviews only the US soldiers and the US military elites. He never interviews any of the Iraqi victims or civilians. Read morePublished on December 14, 2013 by sb
After 20 pages, you realize we acted just as brutally as the enemy. Do I need another 260 pages of description of the same incidents? I don't. Read morePublished on October 17, 2011 by DrukerEffect
Phillip Gourevitch earned my trust when he wrote "We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with our Families on the Rwandan Genocide. Read morePublished on September 11, 2010 by Michael Griswold
Granted that the subject matter is disturbing, I could not read more than a few chapters.Published on April 26, 2010 by asiana
While the general public in this country is somewhat knowledgeable of the prolonged agonies of the ongoing Iraq War, few of us are as acutely aware of the dark cloud of atrocities... Read morePublished on September 22, 2008 by Grady Harp