Torture and Truth America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terrror

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2004-10-31
Publisher(s): New York Review Books
List Price: $24.95

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Includes the torture photographs in color and the full texts of the secret administration memos on torture and the investigative reports on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. In the spring of 2004, graphic photographs of Iraqi prisoners being tortured by American soldiers in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison flashed around the world, provoking outraged debate. Did they depict the rogue behavior of "a few bad apples"? Or did they in fact reveal that the US government had decided to use brutal tactics in the "war on terror"? The images are shocking, but they do not tell the whole story. The abuses at Abu Ghraib were not isolated incidents but the result of a chain of deliberate decisions and failures of command. To understand how "Hooded Man" and "Leashed Man" could have happened, Mark Danner turns to the documents that are collected for the first time in this book. These documents include secret government memos, some never before published, that portray a fierce argument within the Bush administration over whether al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners were protected by the Geneva Conventions and how far the US could go in interrogating them. There are also official reports on abuses at Abu Ghraib by the International Committee of the Red Cross, by US Army investigators, and by an independent panel chaired by former defense secretary James R. Schlesinger. In sifting this evidence, Danner traces the path by which harsh methods of interrogation approved for suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Guantnamo "migrated" to Iraq as resistance to the US occupation grew and US casualties mounted. Yet as Mark Danner writes, the real scandal here is political: it "is not about revelation or disclosure but about the failure, once wrongdoing is disclosed, of politicians, officials, the press, and, ultimately, citizens to act." For once we know the story the photos and documents tell, we are left with the questions they pose for our democratic society: Does fighting a "new kind of war" on terror justify torture? Who will we hold responsible for deciding to pursue such a policy, and what will be the moral and political costs to the country?

Author Biography

Mark Danner is Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xiii
I Torture and Truth
II The Logic of Torture
III The Secret Road to Abu Ghraib
Addenda: The Context
IV Iraq: The New War
V Delusions in Baghdad
Appendices: Torture and Truth in Words and Pictures
Appendix I: Disputation: Arguing Torture
Who Is Protected?: The Debate Over Pows
1 Military Order of November 13, 2000
2 Memo: Alberto Gonzales to President Bush, January 25, 2002
3 Memo: Colin Powell to Alberto Gonzales, January 26, 2002
4 Letter: John Ashcroft to President Bush, February 1, 2002
5 Memo: William H. Taft IV to Alberto Gonzales, February 2, 2002
6 Memo: Jay S. Bybee to Alberto Gonzales, February 7, 2002
7 Memo: President Bush on Humane Treatment of al-Qaeda and Taliban Detainees, February 7, 2002
What Is Torture?: The Debate Over Interrogation
1 Letter: John C. Yoo to Alberto Gonzales, August 1, 2002
2 Memo: Jay S. Bybee to Alberto Gonzales, August 1, 2002
3 Memo: LTC Jerald Phifer to MG Michael Dunlavey, October 11, 2002
4a Memo: LTC Diane E. Beaver, SJA, to MG Michael Dunlavey, October 11, 2002
4b Legal Brief: LTC Diane E. Beaver, October 11, 2002
5 Memo: MG Michael Dunlavey to General James T. Hill, October It, 2002
6 Memo: General James T. Hill to General Richard B. Myers, October 25, 2002
7 Memo: William J. Haynes II to Donald Rumsfeld, December 2, 2002
8 Memo: Donald Rumsfeld to General James T. Hill, January 15, 2003
9 Memo: Donald Rumsfeld to William J. Haynes II, January 15, 2003
10 Memo: William J. Haynes II to Mary L. Walker, January's, 2003
11 Pentagon Working Group Report, April 4, 2003 (excerpts)
12 Memo: Donald Rumsfeld to General James T. Hill, April 16, 2003
13 Report of MG Geoffrey D. Miller, September 13, 2003
Appendix II: Revelation-The Story Breaks
The Photographs
The Depositions: The Prisoners Speak
The Witnesses: The Red Cross Report
Appendix III: Investigation-Working Toward Truth
The Taguba Report
The Schlesinger Report
The Fay/Jones Report
About the Author 580

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