Monstering: Inside America's Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War
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Monstering: Inside America's Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War

by Tara McKelvey
     
 

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For the first time since the Abu Chraib photographs were revealed to the world, Monstering tells the story of what happened behind the cinder-block walls of the prison. Tara McKelvey discovers how soldiers, acting in an atmosphere that encouraged abuse, were unleashed on a prison population of which the vast majority, according to army documents, was innocent

Overview

For the first time since the Abu Chraib photographs were revealed to the world, Monstering tells the story of what happened behind the cinder-block walls of the prison. Tara McKelvey discovers how soldiers, acting in an atmosphere that encouraged abuse, were unleashed on a prison population of which the vast majority, according to army documents, was innocent civilians. Contrary to President Bush's claim that the United States does not torture, Monstering relates in harrowing detail the incredible suffering inflicted by Americans.

About the Author:
Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at The American Prospect and a Marie Claire contributing editor, is a research fellow at NYU Law School's Center on Law and Security as well as a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Mahler
Monstering is a book of reportage. This is not to say that McKelvey makes an effort to conceal her own outrage at what went on at Abu Ghraib, but rather that she is less interested in exploring how this great moral and institutional failure came to pass—the toxic mix of fatally misguided policy and undisciplined soldiers and interrogators—than in depicting what, precisely, went on behind the prison's cinder-block walls. In describing such scenes, she uses her rigorous reporting to fine effect, drawing on her interviews with detainees to reconstruct their haunting accounts in straightforward, lucid prose.
—The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Were the abuses at Abu Ghraib, revealed three years ago, isolated aberrations? The government says so. American Prospect senior editor McKelvey persuasively argues to the contrary. Only a dozen military investigations have been held on detainee abuse, and only nine soldiers have been sentenced for crimes against prisoners; up the chain of command, no senior officer has yet been punished, even though officers are supposed to know what's going on in their commands-and can hardly do otherwise and serve effectively. Says one sniper, ordered to get his sideburns trimmed, "If they're so worried about little shit like that, they're going to notice if an Iraqi is getting shit smeared on him or electrocuted or walked down the hall with a leash around his neck." A programmatic cover-up has since shielded the brass-and, even more to the point, the OGA (other government agency) that really ran the infamous jail, namely the CIA, since, as a former guard remarks, "The army as it is traditionally understood did not exist in that prison." The CIA interrogators found willing accomplices in young men and women such as former prison guard Charles Graner and his girlfriend Lynndie England, already well trained in striking obedient poses for the camera. Combine this drug-addled low-hanging fruit (who proclaimed, "We are above even President Bush. No one has power over us") and non-Arabic speaking CIA interrogators with a staff of translators who were bringing Iraq's civil war inside the walls to settle old tribal scores, and it is small wonder that horrifying abuses took place. What remains to be discovered, as McKelvey urges, is how far up the line those abuses originated; though Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, thehighest-ranking officer in Iraq at the time, approved of the interrogators' methods, he has yet to answer for them. The same goes for Donald Rumsfeld. An eye-opening, depressing look at events that, more than any other single episode, turned the war in Iraq against the U.S.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786717767
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/28/2007
Pages:
292
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at the American Prospect and contributing editor at Marie Claire, is a research fellow at NYU School of Law’s Center on Law and Security. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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