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Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable Paperback – September 1, 2009
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"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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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. As one reads the testimony of the prisoners one may conclude that the objective of our government had more to do with punishing these suspects than trying to obtain information.
Mr. Coles's comments are especially relevant in light of the recent capture of the 2009 Christmas bomber, Abdulmutallab. Once again, Sara Palin, Richard Cheney, and Senators like Susan Collins (R-ME) argued that Abdulmutallab should have been turned over to intelligence interrogators, not the FBI. The not so subtle subtext of their criticism of President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder is that military and CIA interrogators had the option of using "enhanced interrogation methods" on Abdulmutallab. As Sara Palin said at the TEA Party Convention, "we do not need a law professor at the lecture podium in the White House."
Professor Cole does not let President Obama off the hook either but cautions, it is not enough to say, as he did in his State of the Union Address, "I prohibited torture." That simple statement begs the question, "well, does that mean another President could approve torture"?
Professor Cole suggests that there is something deeper than President Obama's and Sara Palin's statements. It has to do with humanity, justice, and the rule of law, even when dealing with terrorist mass murders who attacked this country on 9/11. I highly recommend "The Torture Memos", especially for Professor Cole's wise analysis.