[addenda and corrections 5/7/08, 5/15/08, 6/9/08]
Nicholas Kristof’s comment about prisoner abuse in our military facilities [NYTimes 5/4/08], notably in
- Kristof says, “On Thursday,
released Sami al-Hajj, a cameraman for Al Jazeera who had been held without charges for more than six years. … [He] was beaten…” Arrived “so frail when he arrived that he had to be carried off the plane and into an ambulance.” America
- Also: “Murat Kurnaz, a German citizen of Turkish descent, has just published a memoir of his nearly five years in Guantánamo. He describes prolonged torture that included interruptions by a doctor to ensure that he was well enough for the torture to continue.”
- Also: "Italian Trial of CIA Operatives Begins with Torture Testimony." [NYTimes 5/15/08] A Muslim cleric's wife testifies of the capture and "extraordinary rendition" of her husband to Egypt by the CIA, where he was tortured.
I went looking on the web for recent publications on torture. There are more than I thought. How many more books will have to be published before the American people internalize what has been done to other human beings in their name? None of us believes that torture is consistent with the ideals of our country and yet the practice persists -- and few voices have been raised about it. When our country realizes what has been done in its name, many of us will be tempted to feign ignorance.
The sad thing is that our country, like so many others, is enveloped in fairly sealed "information worlds.” Like people elsewhere -- many Germans during WW II, like the Serbs under Miloshivich and in fact the populations of most countries -- most Americans cannot believe that our people could have done what they did (our troops), or authorized what they authorized (e.g., John Yoo), organized what they organized (our generals), and carried out the abuses they carried out. Witness the attitude of the Serbs, many of whom to this day believe their people were not guilty of the well documented abuses during the recent wars in
One of our problems is that despite the presumed superiority of our media, the American people remain informed only of those events that are presentable on TV; what we know is limited to the moving images that someone has been able to get, and essentially only those that are current, of what is happening in the world.
In chronological order, from the newest to the oldest, I list here those works documenting instances of torture perpetrated by our government. This is what I could find easily; there must be more.
- Steven Wax. (June 3) 2008. Kafka Comes to
. Other Press. America
- Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris. 2008 [May 15]. Standard Operating Procedure. Penguin. [Reviewed, along with film of the same name, by Ian Buruma, New York Review June 26, 08, p 6,8]
- Eric Lichtblau. 2008. Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice. Pantheon.
- Philippe Sands. 2008 [May 13] Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values. Palgrave.
- Mahvish Rukhsana Khan. 2008. My Guantánamo Diary. Public Affairs. [A pediatrician who returned to
in 2003 to help rebuild his country was then arrested by Americans, beaten, doused with icy water and paraded around naked. Finally, after three years, officials apparently decided he was innocent and sent him home.] Afghanistan
- Darius Rejali. 2007. Torture and Democracy.
. [880 pp. “the most compendious and the most rigorous treatment of the subject yet written.”] Princeton University
- Tony Lagouranis and Allen Mikaelian. 2007. Fear Up Harsh: An Army Interrogator's Dark Journey Through Iraq. NAL. [A developed version of a story widely available in the media and on the Internet. Lagouranis became a central figure to
war opponents by describing his role as an army interrogator at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.] Iraq
- Stephen F. Eisenman. 2007. The Abu Ghraib Effect. Reaktion Books. [“Scholarly, succinct, and flush with photos, Eisenman's analysis is art history at its most compelling.”]
- Tara McKelvey. 2007. Monstering: Inside
's Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War. Basic Books. [[A]buses at Abu Ghraib, in particular the abuses visited upon women prisoners] America
- Bob Brecher. 2007. Torture and the Ticking Bomb (Blackwell Public Philosophy Series). Wiley-Blackwell.
- Jack L. Goldsmith. 2007. The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration. Norton.
- Joseph Margulies. 2007.
and the Abuse of Presidential Power. Simon & Schuster Guantanamo
- Alfred McCoy. 2006. A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror. Holt Metropolitan Books. [“From the start of the Cold War to the early nineteen-sixties, the C.I.A. spent billions of dollars developing psychological tools for interrogation. … [Documentation] from the Phoenix program in Vietnam—which was designed to ferret out high-level Vietcong, although of the more than twenty thousand people it killed most were civilians—to the actions of agency-trained secret police in Honduras in the nineteen-eighties, and the treatment of hooded detainees at Abu Ghraib.]
- Tara McKelvey (Editor). 2006. One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers. Seal Press.
- Stephen Grey. 2006. Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program.
- Sanford Levinson (ed). 2006. Torture: A Collection.
Oxford University . [Sections on "Philosophical Considerations"; "Torture as Practiced"; "Contemporary Attempts to Abolish Torture Through Law"; and "Reflections on the Post 9-11 Debate About Legalizing Torture.] Press, USA
- Stephen Grey. 2006. Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program.
St Martin’s Press.
- Steven Miles. 2006. Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror. Random House. [ … the work of the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (known as BSCTs, or "biscuits") active in Iraq and Guantanamo: groups of psychiatrists and psychologists who used detainees' medical charts and test data to devise "physically and psychologically coercive interrogation plans" designed to break their resistance. In at least one camp in
, all harsh interrogations reportedly were first approved by the medical team.] Iraq
- Jennifer K. Harbury. 2005. Truth, Torture, and the
American Way: The History and Consequences of Involvement in Torture. Beacon. [A "wink and nod" approach, sending clear signals to the Salvadoran team that the abductions, tortures, and kidnappings were to continue. ..."] U.S.
- Dianna Ortiz.2004.Blindfold's Eyes: My Journey From Torture To Truth.Orbis.["... going through the court proceedings mirrored the situation of the torture, perhaps asserting myself and having a team of people with me to support me would be a ..."]
- Karen J. Greenberg, Joshua L. Dratel, and Anthony Lewis (Eds). 2005. The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib.
Press. [Bush administration officials and top military brass continue to maintain that the well-documented abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib were the isolated actions of a few rogue guards. … [The editors] believe the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the claimed abuses at Cambridge University are the direct result of administration policies. … [A] compilation of administration documents … clearly reveal that, at the highest levels, the Bush administration sought legal justification to circumvent both the Geneva Convention and other international accepted norms regarding the interrogation and treatment of military detainees.] Guantanamo
- Karen J. Greenberg, ed. 2005. The Torture Debate in
. America . [The documents, memoranda, and reports that comprise the material in The Torture Papers.] Cambridge University
- Michael Ignatieff. 2004. The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror. Princeton University.
- John Conroy. 2001. Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture.
Press. [His question: How is it that otherwise normal people can become part of the institutionalized practice of torture? … He investigates the "five torture techniques" (hooding, noise bombardment, food deprivation, sleep deprivation and forced standing against a wall) inflicted on 12 Irish prisoners in 1971; a late 1980s round-up on the West Bank of Palestinians, who were bound, gagged and beaten; and Chicago's notorious John Burge case, in which police officers systematically beat and electrocuted (on the head, chest and genitals) a man suspected (and later convicted) of killing a police officer.] Universityof California