National Lawyers Guild
January 21, 2011
Former Guild President and active International Committee member Marjorie Cohn has released a new book, featuring a variety of distinguished contributors including IC co-chair Jeanne Mirer. "The United States of Torture" dissects America's long relationship with interrogation and torture and provides a vision of accountability.
The United States and Torture
Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse
Edited by Marjorie Cohn
368 p. | Cloth: $39.00
Purchase the book online today! (via Amazon)
Also available directly from NYU Press!
"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."—Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine, School of Law
Waterboarding. Sleep deprivation. Sensory manipulation. Stress positions. Over the last several years, these and other methods of torture have become garden variety words for practically anyone who reads about current events in a newspaper or blog. We know exactly what they are, how to administer them, and, disturbingly, that they were secretly authorized by the Bush Administration in its efforts to extract information from people detained in its war on terror. What we lack, however, is a larger lens through which to view America’s policy of torture — one that dissects America’s long relationship with interrogation and torture, which roots back to the 1950s and has been applied, mostly in secret, to "enemies," ever since. How did America come to embrace this practice so fully, and how was it justified from a moral, legal, and psychological perspective?
The United States and Torture opens with a compelling preface by Sister Dianna Ortiz, who describes the unimaginable treatment she endured in Guatemala in 1987 at the hands of the the Guatemalan government, which was supported by the United States. Then a psychologist, a historian, a political scientist, a philosopher, a sociologist, two journalists, and eight lawyers offer one of the most comprehensive examinations of torture to date, beginning with the CIA during the Cold War era and ending with today’s debate over accountability for torture.
Ultimately, this gripping, interdisciplinary work details the complicity of the United States government in the torture and cruel treatment of prisoners both at home and abroad and discusses what can be done to hold those who set the torture policy accountable.
Contributors: Marjorie Cohn, Richard Falk, Marc D. Falkoff, Terry Lynn Karl, John W. Lango, Jane Mayer, Alfred W. McCoy, Jeanne Mirer, Sister Dianna Ortiz, Jordan J. Paust, Bill Quigley, Michael Ratner, Thomas Ehrlich Reifer, Philippe Sands, Stephen Soldz, and Lance Tapley.
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and past president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her books include Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. The 2008 recipient of the Peace Scholar of the Year Award, she has testified before Congress about Bush Administration torture policy.
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