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Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power Paperback – July 3, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is written from a lawyer's perspective and lays out clearly the history of the Guantanamo prison and the legal battles over the treatment of prisoners there. As the author stresses, the torture tactics have done immense damage to American prestige yet produced little if any valuable intelligence. This failure should not be a surprise, since most of the prisoners are either innocent of terrorist activity or were Taliban small-fry with no connection to September 11 or other attacks on U.S. targets. That hundreds of these pathetic men are still incarcerated speaks volumes about the indecency of the Bush Administration and its inability to admit that it ever makes mistakes.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate have stepped in to curb the worst abuses and to restore some sanity to our detention policies. They have partially rescued America's good name and commitment to the rule of law. However, until officials of the Bush Administration are put on trial for violations of the War Crimes Act and the Torture Act, the stain on our national honor will not be fully erased.
The author, Joseph Margulies, is an attorney at Mac Arthur Justice Center, and a law professor at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago. He has been honored with the prestigious Sullivan Award (2005) for the commendable service he did in protecting our civil liberties, and also for challenging the detention policies of the Bush administration at Guantanamo Bay. At a time when the members and the chairmen of the relevant oversight committees of both the Congress and the Senate (the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, e.g.) have done nothing to either halt or restrain the blatantly unconstitutional policies (the Supreme Court has now clearly said so) and atrocities of the Bush Whitehouse, it is admirable that the author has strived, often pro bono, to force the Bush White House, in federal courts, to abide by our constitution and also the Geneva Conventions. (The White House has now said that it will abide by the Geneva Conventions!). By striving so courageously to rescue the Guantanamo Bay detainees from a legal Black Hole, he has won the admiration of decent people from around the world, and we should consider ourselves fortunate that we have a man of his caliber and decency living amongst us.Read more ›
Margulies, in a very readable book, sifts much of the sophistry used by the Executive's lawyers (and supporting sophists) to justify its paradigm shift, concluding:
"It is a sad day when competent lawyers who are asked to play this role [of assisting the Bush administration with a conscious desire to evade and circumvent the requirements of the law] agree to do so. If the rule of law is to be silenced during war, lawyers should not be the ones who silence it."
However, Margulies retreats from any attempt at comparing the Executive's secret worldwide CIA torture centers with the former Soviet gulags. One can understand this in terms of magnitude. Fortunately, America has not approached the millions harmed or killed or murdered in the old Soviet gulags. But elementally, which Margulies focuses on throughout the book, aren't they the same?
In both the gulags and terror centers, governments have authorized or commanded the barbaric and depraved treatment of a human being, resulting in grave harm or serious harm or death, for the purpose of enforcing or justifying or extending their ideology or set of beliefs.
I'm grateful to Margulies for writing this book. I'm more grateful that America still has individuals (e.g. Marulies, Ratner, Swift, Katyal et al) and groups that are willing, to immediately shine a light on our government's dark side. In the beginning all they had was a flashlight.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a 56 year old 1L at the Univeristy of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis, MN. I became interested in the United States torture issue when I found out my 2nd semester Con Law... Read morePublished on February 28, 2010 by James R. Gould
Having gone through several books about Guantanamo in my studies on torture, this is definitely the most thoroughly researched and hard-hitting book I have read on the subject. Read morePublished on December 30, 2009 by Justin J. Norman
he is very good and correct the shipment. thank you very muchGuantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential PowerPublished on April 10, 2009 by Rene
If only we had had human rights lawyers preserving the rights of German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners of war. That would have advanced the war effort during WWII. Read morePublished on October 5, 2008 by Raymond A. Millen
This book made me sad. Because it is so well-written about subject matter that was beyond my belief, I have been shaken out of my idylls. Read morePublished on January 7, 2008 by Mr. Ronald Gene Nusswarren
The author was the lead counsel for Rasul and other detainees in the noted Supreme Court case of 2004, Rasul v. Bush. Read morePublished on October 22, 2007 by K.S.Ziegler
This book deserves a much wider audience. No matter how bad you think things are in Guantanamo, this book makes clear that the reality is ten times worse. Read morePublished on August 28, 2007 by Lawprof
One of the few books I've read about any controversial topic that resists the temptation to start name-calling, insult-slinging and obvious political agendas.
Dr. Read more
Robert McNamara noted (about WWII), "LeMay said if we lost the war that we would have all been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he's right. He... and I'd say I... Read morePublished on January 4, 2007 by Anthony M. Zipple