The Dark Side (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side is a masterful account of the U.S. government’s “war on terror” interrogation program that followed al-Qaeda’s attacks of September 11, 2001. It relates the capture and seizing of suspects from the Middle East and elsewhere, their incarceration at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and other sites, and the methods employed by American officials to gain information in order to prevent another 9/11. It is a story of fools and knaves and a few heroes and constitutes one of the darkest chapters in history of the abuse of rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and decades of tradition. This is history with a point of view: Mayer is not an admirer of the Bush administration’s use of extreme interrogation techniques.
On the Sunday after the attack on New York City’s Twin Towers and on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Vice President Dick Cheney, appearing on the television program Meet the Press, stated that “[w]e’ll have to work sort of the dark side . . . . And, uh, so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal.” Over the years that followed, extreme measuresincluding water boarding, sleep deprivation, sexual intimidation, and other physical and psychological methodswere employed to break down detainees in order to obtain supposedly crucial information regarding past and future terrorist activities.
Like other state governors who...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
The Economist 388, no. 8591 (August 2, 2008): 86-87.
Library Journal 133, no. 18 (November 1, 2008): 116.
The New York Times, July 22, 2008, p. 19.
The New York Times Book Review, August 10, 2008, p. 4.
Policy Review, no. 151 (October/November, 2008): 80-85.
Time 172, no. 4 (July 28, 2008): 18.
The Times Literary Supplement, October 31, 2008, p. 10.
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