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481 of 530 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Screened from the eyes of the world: torture in the dark dungeons of American gulags, July 15, 2008
This review is from: The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Hardcover)
Of the nearly two dozen books published so far that describe and document the nefarious deeds of George Bush's administration, Jane Mayer's book, "The Dark Side" , is perhaps the most thoroughly researched, meticulous, impressive, and deeply disturbing. It is also gripping and highly readable.

I am convinced that what Woodward and Bernstein's book "All the President's Men" did to the Nixon administration, Jane Mayer's book "The Dark Side" will do to George Bush's administration: blow away, like a piece of straw, the last sliver of credibility that the few remaining supporters of George Bush desperately cling to. "We don't torture", said the President, and Jane Mayer has responded with this book, as if to say: "That is a lie".

Although many of the incidents and details narrated in this book have been well known for quite some time, what is remarkable is the thorough and painstaking manner in which the author has arranged them together, as if she were connecting the haphazard dots and linking them together, to create a clear, convincing, and devastating picture. She has included a significant amount of new information also. Reading this book will make the hair on your nape stand up, as if electrified, and shock you to the very core, and leave you speechless.

The book is full of passages based on well-documented facts that will stun the readers and shake their conscience. For example, she has written that: "For the first time in its history, the United States sanctioned government officials to physically and psychologically torment U.S.-held captives, making torture the official law of the land in all but name."

The International committee of Red Cross wrote a secret report about the torture the prisoners were subjected to, under the supervision of the CIA at the prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and gave a copy to the CIA. Jane Mayer wrote: "The Red Cross document warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.", and she states emphatically, "The International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were `categorically' torture, which is illegal under both American and international law". The book states that Abu Zubaydah was subjected to water-torture("Waterboarding") as often as ten times a week, and up to three time a day. The CIA shared the report, later, with President Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

It is quite shocking to learn that almost half of all prisoners tortured were found to be innocent of harming the United States in any way, and were eventually let go, without being charged of any crimes, and after spending more than five years in jails. The author has written: "The analyst estimated that a full third of the camp's detainees were there by mistake. When told of those findings, the top military commander at Guantanamo at the time, Major Gen. Michael Dunlavey, not only agreed with the assessment but suggested that an even higher percentage of detentions -- up to half -- were in error. Later, an academic study by Seton Hall University Law School concluded that 55 percent of detainees had never engaged in hostile acts against the United States, and only 8 percent had any association with al-Qaeda."

Reading this book will make you stop and think and wonder how a small group of people in the White House could wreak so much havoc around the world, and tarnish our reputation. This is an extraordinary, thought-provoking, riveting and frightening book.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 33 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 16, 2008 8:39:33 AM PDT
An astute and superb review. My sincere thanks.

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 10:02:41 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 17, 2008 10:46:21 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 12:39:30 PM PDT
Hi Fred Morrison, and George Hickey,
Thank you both for your comments.
George, I did not include all the things I wished to write in my review because of my concern of its length. I had quite a bit more to say, but a 2000 word review would definitely turn off the reader! I tried to keep my review brief and precise.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008 12:43:20 PM PDT
Too bad Bush and Cheney will probably never be tried in international court as they should be. Mayer expressed her doubts about it in the Harpers article. She said Bush will probably only be punished in the history books.

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 2:49:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2008 2:58:46 PM PDT
Hi Herb Schaffler,
Thank you for your comment. But I am not sure that Bush and Chaney will never be tried in international courts, because: Where there is will there is a way! Augusto Pinochet, who had immunity from prosecution, nevertheless, was arrested in the UK in 1998 on an extradition request issued by Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon. Pinochet was not tried only because of his poor health; he was 83 years old, and his lawyers claimed that he was senile and had no memory. Once his lawyers even used the "insanity defence"! So I think some day in the not too distant future, both Chaney and Bush will find themselves in dockets. Their bombing of Iraq has resulted in the slaughter of a large number of civilians -estimated to be between 150,000 to a little over a million, and rendered 2 million Iraqis homeless, which has generated real anger around the world. Let us wait and see.

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 8:00:58 PM PDT
maskirovka says:
Comments and reviews like these give a distorted view of what middle America thinks about these issues. People here may not like it one bit (which is their right) but I guarantee you very few people outside their circles give a tinker's damn about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed being waterboarded. And the best indicator that people who do think it is the worst possible thing that could happen are in the tiny minority is that Barack Obama is not making it an issue at all in his campaign. Why doesn't he? Because he doesn't want to see a Republican ad that says, "The Democrats care more for the rights of terrorists than they do for the safety of their country."

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008 11:58:19 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 17, 2008 10:46:51 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008 12:11:13 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 17, 2008 10:47:06 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008 12:15:34 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 17, 2008 12:15:52 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 17, 2008 8:47:42 AM PDT
Donald Reed says:
Great review, Mr. Prabhu.
"THE DARK SIDE" & "THE PROSECUTION OF GEORGE W. BUSH FOR MURDER" are must reads. I remember the Nuremberg Trials.

Thanks,

Don
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