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Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable Paperback – September 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A must-read for anyone trying to reconstruct and understand how the US ended up using medieval torture methods in the 21st Century." Clive Stafford Smith - Director of Reprieve and author of "Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons". --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Cole is a professor of law at Georgetown University, legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, and author of the American Book Award-winning Enemy Aliens. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Philippe Sands, QC, is a leading international lawyer and law professor at University College London, and the author of Torture Team. He lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595584927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595584922
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Before I purchased this book I was not sure if it would be worth buying a book that included Torture Memos which could easily be found on the Internet. I read David Cole's 40 page Introductory Commentary in the bookstore and was very impressed by his analysis and commentary. Again I debated whether I needed to buy the book and decided, "yes" I want to keep this book for ready reference. It is easier to have the Memos collected in print in one place.

In addition, David Cole combines enough legal ethics for the non-lawyer to understand where the OLC lawyers can be held accountable for providing false justifications to the CIA to commit torture. David Cole is professor of law at Georgetown but this does not mean that he cannot write like a human being with a conscience. His commentary is a great intellectual support to decent people who know in their gut that what the CIA did to captured Al Qaeda suspects, with the blessings of the OLC and top leaders in the Bush Administration, including President Bush himself, was morally wrong and illegal as well. One by one Mr. Cole exposes the rationalizations and approach of the OLC lawyers to a legal and ethical perspective.

My only suggestion for Mr. Cole would have been that he include the International Committee of the Red Cross report in his book if possible. When we read the report of actual interviews of the suspected Al Quaeda prisoners, it really adds the human and subjective element to the Torture Memos. One may ask how can we trust the testimony of 14 Al Quaeda suspects to be reliable? The 14 suspects were interviewed seperately and they all seemed to tell a story which was consistent with what the Memos approved. This would underscore what was being done in our name by the CIA.
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Professor Cole has done a masterful job demonstrating how the Bush administration perverted the rule of law. It remains amazing that no one has ever been prosecuted for the laws that were broken by lawyers who were sworn to uphold the constitution.
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Specific focus (and texts) on the key torture memos of the Bush administration. A scary example of the political instrumentalization of law.
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