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The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse Hardcover – January 12, 2011
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“This is an extraordinarily important book. Marjorie Cohn has gathered some of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful voices who understand and oppose the horrific decision by the Bush/Cheney administration to employ torture to fight terrorists. In these pages they explain not only what was done but why it was so terribly wrong.”
“A critical collection of essays on the United States’ descent into torture. The contributors, who include some of the nation’s most important human rights advocates and scholars, tell the untold story of how the country that was instrumental in drafting the Convention Against Torture has itself violated that document’s fundamental obligations, and what we should do about it.”
"If this collection of authoritative and proficient essays does not convince every reader that key Bush officials and their lawyers should be prosecuted, it leaves no doubt that probable cause exists to justify the Justice Department opening a series of comprehensive investigations with ample resources and subpoena power to determine whether such crimes were committed and whether indictments should be issued...Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and anyone who cares about restoring respect for the Rule of Law in America should first read The United States and Torture, and then do the right thing."-The Los Angeles Daily Journal
"An excellent addition to the cannon of work relating to the post-9/11 embrace of torture by the Bush Administration as well as the subsequent erosion of constitutional and international legal principles."
“Because whistleblowers leaked the Abu Ghraib photos and some of the torture memos, the torture and abuse committed by the United States entered the national discourse. This book is the result of those efforts and this critical work by leading scholars and journalists who courageously provide a roadmap for holding Bush officials accountable for their war crimes.”
“This book is incredible. The truth is right there on the pages, assembled for everyone to see and read and understand. Finally. Accountability is the first step in healing as a nation. The last line of the final chapter says it all: ‘Let us begin.’ Indeed, we must.”
"This gripping collection of essays explores how the United States has used torture both domestically and abroad since the 1950s . . . Strongly recommended to any reader interested in developing a deeper understanding of the government's torture policies."
“A magnificent, though deeply disturbing collection of essays on torture, considering its history, its use since September 11, and the obstacles to holding those responsible accountable. This is the best collection of essays on the topic and it leaves no doubt that the nation has not yet come to grips with the inhumanity perpetrated under the guise of national security.”
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We have heard a lot about torture, but what makes this book unique is that it begins with the personal and then like an Aristotelian debate, the essays drawn from history, law, psychology, philosophy, and ethics argue against torture to create a full condemnation and call for its abolition. The personal is shattering: Sister Dianna Ortiz's account, difficult to read, of her kidnap and torture in Guatemala reminds us that the torture is intended to break the human spirit, to destroy our connection to family, friends, children, loved ones, to permanently turn the survivor outside of society. Her brave work in starting the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, headquartered in Washington DC, reminds us that there has been no accountability, no matter which administration resides in the White House. Sister Dianna has refused the role of outcast.
Each of the essays explores the use of torture as a part of "official" United States policy, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Central America, or in our own prisons, in a way that educates the reader into activism. Torture is illegal, banned by international treaties and our own domestic laws, yet it has been used by many presidents, with elaborate ways of secreting their participation in its use. That changed with the Bush administration, and because the President, Vice President, and many others within that administration boasted of their participation in its implementation, as a people, to restore the trust needed to continue self-government, we must demand accountability. These essays--spoken with the authority of a historian, journalists, lawyers, psychologists, and philosophers--without hyperbole, and with meticulous endnotes-- take us to El Salvador, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and our own super prisons to provide the basis for demanding a national inquiry in our role in teaching how to use torture, using it, and legitimizing its use. After reading this book, we cannot ignore that as a people we must restrain the power of government, our own government, and demand accountability.
Many of the contributors to this anthology are already household names, noted as much for their stellar professional accomplishments and advocacy as for their political activism on matters of significant public interest. And Professor Cohn - herself a highly respected legal analyst and political commentator - has authored a comprehensive introduction to this book that by itself is well worth the price of admission. As editor, Cohn has assembled in this work a cast of luminaries, whose combined effort has yielded a study of extraordinary insight and scholarship, a volume that will both illuminate and inspire, and engage our attention for a long time to come.
Executive Producer & Host
WBAI Pacifica Radio - New York