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Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib is investigative journalist Seymour Hersh's 2004 highly critical examination of the U.S. Government's conduct in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Hersh provides a meticulously researched (albeit with little accounting of sources) study of an administration, that of then-President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney, that, he argues, lost its moral compass and undermined American values in its single-minded determination to defeat al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, whom some in the administration believed was culpable in the September 2001 terrorist attacks despite a dearth of evidence pointing to Iraqi involvement. The scandal surrounding the American treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison following the U.S. invasion of that country, treatment that seriously undermined the U.S. position around the world, as the use of torture and otherwise demeaning and counterproductive practices like the deliberate humiliation of those prisoners proved embarrassing to American officials, is highlighted by Hersh to illuminate the depths to which the Administration descended during that vital period in U.S. and Middle Eastern history. Hersh, who gained fame during the Vietnam War when he exposed a massacre of Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers, continued to focus his journalistic efforts on similarly illuminating shortcomings in U.S. policies. Chain of Command represented a continuation of the author's proclivity for such journalistic accounts of current affairs.
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