The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals

The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals❮Epub❯ ➥ The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals ➤ Author Jane Mayer – Heartforum.co.uk In the days immediately following September th, the most powerful people in the country were panic stricken The radical decisions about how to combat terrorists and strengthen national security were m In the days immediately following Side: The Kindle Ñ September th, the most powerful people in the country were panic stricken The radical decisions about how to combat terrorists and strengthen national security were made in a state of utter chaos and fear, but the key players, Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, The Dark Kindle - secretive adviser David Addington, used the crisis to further a long held agenda to enhance Presidential powers to a degree never known in US history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment The Dark Side is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how Dark Side: The eBook ¸ the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world decisions that not only violated the Constitution to which White House officials took an oath to uphold, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda In gripping detail, acclaimed New Yorker writer and bestselling author, Jane Mayer, relates the impact of these decisions US held prisoners, some of them completely innocent, were subjected to treatment reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition than the twenty first century The Dark Side will chronicle real, specific cases, shown in real time against the larger tableau of what was happening in Washington, looking at the intelligence gained or not and the price paid In some instances, torture worked In many , it led to false information, sometimes with devastating results For instance, there is the stunning admission of one of the detainees, Sheikh Ibn al Libi, that the confession he gave under duress which provided a key piece of evidence buttressing congressional support of going to war against Iraq was in fact fabricated, to make the torture stopIn all cases, whatever the short term gains, there were incalculable losses in terms of moral standing, and our country s place in the world, and its sense of itself The Dark Side chronicles one of the most disturbing chapters in American history, one that will serve as the lasting legacy of the George W Bush presidency.

Jane Mayer is a staff Side: The Kindle Ñ writer for The New Yorker and the author of three bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books She co authored Landslide The Unmaking of the President, , with Doyle McManus, and Strange Justice The Selling of Clarence Thomas, with Jill Abramson, which was a The Dark Kindle - finalist for the National Book Award Her book The Dark Side The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, was named one of The New York Times s Top Books of the Year and Dark Side: The eBook ¸ won the J Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Goldsmith Book Prize, the Edward Weintal Prize, the Ridenhour Prize, the New York Public Library s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Robert F Kennedy Book Award It was also a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle AwardFor her reporting at The New Yorker, Mayer has been awarded the John Chancellor Award, the George Polk Award, the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, and the I F Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence presented by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard Mayer lives in Washington, DCShe is a Washington based staff writer for The New Yorker, specializing in political and investigative reporting Before that, she was a senior writer and front page editor for The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Journal s first female White House correspondent.

The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror
    The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror relates the impact of these decisions US held prisoners, some of them completely innocent, were subjected to treatment reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition than the twenty first century The Dark Side will chronicle real, specific cases, shown in real time against the larger tableau of what was happening in Washington, looking at the intelligence gained or not and the price paid In some instances, torture worked In many , it led to false information, sometimes with devastating results For instance, there is the stunning admission of one of the detainees, Sheikh Ibn al Libi, that the confession he gave under duress which provided a key piece of evidence buttressing congressional support of going to war against Iraq was in fact fabricated, to make the torture stopIn all cases, whatever the short term gains, there were incalculable losses in terms of moral standing, and our country s place in the world, and its sense of itself The Dark Side chronicles one of the most disturbing chapters in American history, one that will serve as the lasting legacy of the George W Bush presidency."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 392 pages
  • The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
  • Jane Mayer
  • English
  • 23 May 2018
  • 0385526393

10 thoughts on “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals

  1. Will Byrnes says:

    The title comes from Dick Cheney s vow to go to the Dark Side in the battle against terrorism There is a wealth here of drill down detail about the mechanisms by which America abandoned the constitution in favor of a unitary, imperial president and really vice president who believes that l estat est moi Jane Mayer image from Elle Magazine shot by Heather HazzanI have read a fair number of books that delve into the Bush administration and nowhere have I seen the comprehensive depth Maye The title comes from Dick Cheney s vow to go to the Dark Side in the battle against terrorism There is a wealth here of drill down detail about the mechanisms by which America abandoned the constitution in favor of a unitary, imperial president and really vice president who believes that l estat est moi Jane Mayer image from Elle Magazine shot by Heather HazzanI have read a fair number of books that delve into the Bush administration and nowhere have I seen the comprehensive depth Mayer has given to her examination of how America has traded its soul for a false sense of security Although she does not make any comparisons of this sort I mean any time the word Nazi is mentioned, the notion that follows is automatically dismissed one notion that popped into my head was that so many of the dark players here seemed to get off on the idea of torture, regardless of the extant analysis, even from their own people, that it is counterproductive I was reminded of the embrace of cruelty that became the norm in that prototypical horror state David Addington emerges as one of the real scary guys, Cheney s attack dog These people would have been right at home with the dark forces of yesteryear Great detail is offered re the impact of the Office of Legal Counsel and how the people there were at the center of the attack on long standing American principles Mayer notes the place of the USA in the history of international rules concerning treatment of captured enemies, beginning with Washington s humane treatment of Brit prisoners at a time when the Brits treated captured Yanks like animals She points out the beneficent impact of such rules on our own people, noting how the Nazis treated captured Americans And she cites the impact positive of the USA on the 1949 Geneva accords.She offers portraits of those who tried to fight against the darkness within the government, and how they were ignored, attacked, crushed, driven out This is a powerful, detailed depiction of the rotten core of a bad apple, and should be a must read for every American EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter and FB pages

  2. brian says:

    there s something i call generational narcissism which is basically the naive belief that one s generation is special and different and unique for no other reason than that one is part of it there are a few varieties 1 new age generational narcissism the belief that the universe that vague overused and totally unhelpful term has destined some serious astronomical, astrological, apocalyptical and or spiritual kind of paradigm shift to occur in one s time i.e age of aquarius, end of day there s something i call generational narcissism which is basically the naive belief that one s generation is special and different and unique for no other reason than that one is part of it there are a few varieties 1 new age generational narcissism the belief that the universe that vague overused and totally unhelpful term has destined some serious astronomical, astrological, apocalyptical and or spiritual kind of paradigm shift to occur in one s time i.e age of aquarius, end of days, revolution in global consciousness, nostradamus type jackass person s prediction, etc 2 technological generational narcissim the belief that because things areadvanced now than they ever were, one s generation is uniquely intelligent aware wise clever etc 3 political generational narcissim the belief that one s generation is somehow politically unique usually manifested in the belief that one lives in a uniquely evil horrible time and that a specific politican is the absolute worst since, and frequently compared to, hitler so throughout bush s first term i was careful not to kneejerkingly fall into the third category yeah, the guy s an embarrasment, but that s a far cry from being the worst and then all the torture crap broke and it became very easy to lay with the 3rd group it felt good it was a release and whether i have accurately looked over the facts or was simply slow to join the 3rd group, i believe bush and all the other criminals in his cabinet and their lawyers ugh those fucking lawyers are the worst america s seen look i m no flaming liberal i hold a good number of conservative beliefs and have caught lots of shit here on bookface for my obsession with ronald reagan and while many of my contemporaries are embarrassed by any feelings of national pride they may have, i m the complete opposite any ideas i may have regarding nationalism in general and in theory, i want to love america no shit i want to feel national pride i want to be proud to be an american and the assholes who always run the show make it pretty impossible, don t they the worst Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus FDR ignored the neutrality acts and interned the japanese but there s a key difference as Mayer points out While earlier presidents overstepped boundaries in times of emergency, neither Lincoln nor Roosevelt claimed the routine presidential right to do so pg 47 in other words, Bush Cheney took literally Nixon s famous line, When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal and this tiny distinction makes all the difference see Louis XIV I am the State the worst in our revolutionary war, the british considered us as unlawful combatants so saw no reason to adhere to any rules of war nonetheless, George Washington did against an infinitelypowerful organized wealthy and better armed enemy and this shaped the national consciousness forever until 2001 Abe Lincoln could ve easily declared the south beyond the law by declaring them all saboteurs and internal enemies he didn t Wilson in WW1, FDR in WW2, Reagan during the Cold War, etc every president knew that the codification of torture was a no brainer the worst those who most need to prove their toughness are always the most weak and pretty much always weaken themselves and those around them in the process check it Cassel If the President deems that he s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person s child, there is no law that can stop him Yoo No treaty.Cassel Also no law by Congress That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.john yoo is a tough guy the worst torture is one of those things that provides an easy marker of a society in decline it s Fall of Rome kinda shit watch out for lions in the streets, people the worst torture doesn t work everyone knows this people will say anything to end torture so, yeah, you might think there are a lotreasons to declare Bush the absolute worst and some of you might think that s absurd that and all the other shit these thugs got up to is up for debate but not torture naw torture makes debate easy in that it ends it it s strikingly black and white Obama seems interested in re uniting the country and that s a good thing but it d be damn cool if, on january 21st, seconds after being declared president, he bitch slapped Bush, had his boys slap the cuffs on him and all the others, and marched those motherfuckers off to prison to stand trial as criminals yes, even war criminals deserve

  3. Max says:

    I was well aware of the excesses of the Bush administration s war on terror, but still Mayer s book was shocking It s been eleven years since we saw the first pictures of abuse in Abu Ghraib Mayer starkly brings back the memory This detailed account of disregard for human decency, false imprisonments, and torture brought on feelings of disgust and revulsion Given some of the rhetoric in the current presidential campaign, this book is as relevant as ever I can t recommend it highly enough M I was well aware of the excesses of the Bush administration s war on terror, but still Mayer s book was shocking It s been eleven years since we saw the first pictures of abuse in Abu Ghraib Mayer starkly brings back the memory This detailed account of disregard for human decency, false imprisonments, and torture brought on feelings of disgust and revulsion Given some of the rhetoric in the current presidential campaign, this book is as relevant as ever I can t recommend it highly enough My notes below cover some major points To get the full story you must read the book Following the 9 11 attacks, the White House went into panic mode Dick Cheney in particular lost it Longtime friend Brent Scowcroft said, I don t know him any Colin Powell aide Lawrence Wilkerson said, The poor guy became paranoid What ensued were the authorization of torture and the deprival of basic human rights In short order, centuries of American values were undermined.The CIA had dropped the ball tracking Al Qaeda operatives abroad The CIA knew two of the eventual hijackers had entered the US in 2000 and stopped following them, but failed to notify the FBI, which arguably could have prevented the attacks Concerned about a potential Al Qaeda attack, longtime counterterrorism official Richard Clarke on January 25, 2001 wrote Bush s new National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, a memo outlining the threat and asked for a Principals Meeting to discuss it Instead she demoted him CIA Chief George Tenet met with Rice on July 10, 2001 to warn about Al Qaeda, but according to Tenet got the brushoff Rice denied any urgent warning was given at the meeting On August 10 the CIA delivered a briefing to President Bush entitled, Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US Bush dismissed it with All right You ve covered your ass now Finally on September 4, 2001 after a final plea from Clarke to Rice the meeting with the Vice President, CIA Director, National Security Advisor and other top officials was held Despite an impassioned plea from Clarke to take action against Bin laden, no action was taken A frustrated Clarke resigned in 2003 Immediately after the September 11 attacks, the CIA proposed that it be authorized to detain, interrogate and kill people they identified as enemy combatants as needed Bush readily agreed The Agency began recruiting and forming a paramilitary unit White House lawyers wrote secret memos to justify warrantless seizures and searches saying that the fourth amendment did not apply when the president deemed there to be a national emergency Internal secret memos gave the president authority to conduct war at will, even deploying troops in the US without congressional approval Essentially Bush was proclaiming as had King Louis XIV, I am the state Bush began talking of himself in the third person as the commander in chief and later called himself the decider In fact, decisions were made before they ever got to him If you can frame the question, you can get the answer you want The framer in chief was Dick Cheney Working through his chief of staff, lawyer David Addington, he controlled the Bush administration lawyers that were sending documents for Bush to sign Addington reviewed and corrected each document to his satisfaction before Bush saw it One authorized Bush to declare terrorists illegal enemy combatants with no prisoner of war or any other rights They would be subject to any treatment the president deemed appropriate Cheney, who had served as President Ford s Chief of Staff, had been appalled at the decline of presidential power following Watergate when Congress passed legislation to prevent future abuses 9 11 was his opportunity to return to Nixonian policies As Nixon said, Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal Cheney s 1987 Minority Report, written as Ranking Member of the House Select Committee investigating the Iran Contra Affair, declared the president had every right to take covert action without notifying congress In 2000 Cheney became Bush s adviser on vice presidential selection and in true Machiavellian fashion selected himself Cheney had extensive Washington experience and Bush had none Cheney quickly took control.With the capture of The American Taliban John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan in November 2001 the issue of what to do with detainees became paramount Ignoring traditional interagency mechanisms for deciding such issues, Dick Cheney, Addington and their self appointed War Council of like minded hardliners would decide They established military commissions which could prosecute suspected terrorists without the presumption of innocence, the right to council, the right to remain silent, Geneva Convention protections against torture or any other safeguards Evidence collected by physical coercion would be admissible as would hearsay Conviction would not require evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and the death penalty would not require a unanimous decision After subjecting Lindh to sleep deprivation and extreme cold, evidence was extracted with him blindfolded, naked and duct taped to a stretcher while being fed barely enough to keep him alive Fortunately for Lindh as the first detainee he was to be tried in a US Court Afraid of the revelations of Lindh s treatment, the Justice Department reached a plea deal and he only got twenty years on charges backed by little genuine evidence But the larger impact of this case was not lost on Cheney, et al From this point forward detainees would not be tried in US courts.To avoid culpability, The CIA Counterterrorist Center turned to extraordinary renditions It extradited suspects to countries such as Egypt and Jordan where torture was the norm The US no longer had to even make charges, just have masked CIA agents transport detainees to countries where interrogation techniques were aligned with administration policy The most notable case that serves as a good example of the type of intelligence torture elicits is that of Ibn al Shaykh al Libi who ran Bin Laden s Afghanistan training camp At first with rapport building techniques the FBI was getting useful information with the captured al Libi, but then the CIA spirited him away to Egypt Repeatedly brutalized and in fear of his life, al Libi said whatever his captors wanted to hear, in this case that Iraq was training Al Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical weapons This intelligence was then used by CIA Director George Tenet to convince Secretary of State Colin Powell to make his famous speech to the UN Security Council calling for a preemptive war against Iraq Tenet never bothered to tell Powell that the DIA found al Libi s statements highly questionable.The first high value detainee was Abu Zubayda, supposedly Al Qaeda s logistic chief Captured by the Pakistani s in return for 10 million from the CIA, Zubayda would be the first to experience the CIA s own program of enhanced interrogation , the Bush administration s euphemism for torture But first the FBI used their rapport building techniques on Zubada and again elicited some useful information Zubada revealed the nickname of 9 11 s central planner, Mukhtar Khalid Sheikh Mohammed , and a description of gang member Jose Padilla who was subsequently arrested for planning a dirty bomb attack Then the CIA transferred him to a black site in Thailand Black sites were secret CIA prisons which some countries offered in return for money or US favors Zubada soon found himself naked in a small cage he later referred to as a tiny coffin It was totally dark and not possible to stand or stretch He never knew how many hours each session in the cage would Last High value prisoners reported being dosed with cold water and then subjected to extreme cold while naked This was done with their ankles and wrists shackled pulling their arms overhead so they could only stand on their tiptoes They could be left like this for hours and then have it repeated day after day for months They were bombarded with bright lights and loud sounds and deprived of sleep for days Some would be waterboarded in which the victims would feel like they are drowning inducing total terror Naked, strapped so tightly to a board the head cannot move, the victim has water continuously poured over his mouth and nostrils while he gasps and gags A favorite or torturers since the dark ages, Zubayda was the first to experience waterboarding by order of the President of the United States The CIA actually filmed these sessions but destroyed the tapes before they could be used in a later criminal investigation by the Justice Department Bush would claim enhanced interrogation was what led to the revelations about Mukhtar and Jose Padilla, but in fact the FBI had gotten this information before the CIA took over Bush claimed information leading to the capture of Al Qaeda leader Ramsi bin al Shibh and subsequently Khalid Sheikh Mohammed came from the program but in fact this lead came from the Emir of Qatar.The CIA prison in Guantanamo was established and by the summer of 2002 held 600 detainees A senior CIA expert assigned to interview these prisoners determined that at least 200 of them had no connection to terrorism Others put the estimate of innocent prisoners at over 50% Few, probably less than 10% were directly involved with Al Qaeda Many had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and were rounded up along with genuine suspects Others were turned over by the Pakistanis for the generous bounties the CIA offered But once in Guantanamo it was almost impossible to get out And since most had no valuable information enhanced interrogation was needed to get them to finally come up with some Interrogators were under tremendous pressure to get results All the techniques were employed, sleep deprivation, blinding lights, shattering noise, confined positions, extreme temperatures, hooding, stripping, humiliation and fear Detainee number 063 was Mohammed Mani Ahmad Sha Lan al Qahtani, the missing 20th 9 11 hijacker He had been denied entry into the US by Customs at Orlando airport Again the FBI made progress, confirming who he was and leading to another arrest and then DIA employee and chief of the military interrogation teams, Dave Becker, dissatisfied with the pace took over After several months of enhanced interrogation Qahtani had stopped offering information and was reduced to crouching in a corner, hearing voices and talking to non existent people Qahtani was shackled, bolted to the floor and allowed only four hours sleep for 48 out of 54 days He was forced to strip naked, wear a leash, perform dog tricks, and wear a bra and thong underwear on his head Force fed liquids he was then denied a bathroom until he urinated on himself Countless further humiliations and tortures were perpetrated for months with Qahtani becoming injured and seriously ill, but doctors were on hand to treat him so he could undergo9 11 organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed when captured described Qahtani as an unsophisticated Bedouin and extremely simple man who didn t even know what a visa was and did not know the specifics of the operation and had very limited information about his points of contact Qahtani did not know who he was going to meet at the airport, but this is the question his interrogators demanded he answer In January 2009 the Pentagon dropped all charges against Qahtani because his confession was not credible since he had been tortured This was the first time any top official in the Bush administration acknowledged torturing detainees However, Qahtani remains imprisoned at Guantanamo.Rumsfeld was furious that weapons of mass destruction had not been found in Iraq He and the administration were totally surprised by the insurgency Thus in August 2003 Rumsfeld sent Guantanamo Joint Task Force Commander General Geoffrey Miller and his tiger team to Gitmoize Iraq Miller centralized operations at Saddam Hussein s infamous Abu Ghraib prison Much different from Guantanamo s population of hundreds of suspected terrorists, Abu Ghraib contained 6,000 prisoners of every kind including common petty criminals, captured ordinary soldiers and innocent people caught up in raids No written policy for interrogation would be provided the interrogators But the pressure was on Dogs were brought in to help with the interrogations A new category was established, ghost prisoner These were prisoners not recorded in any official record, so neither the Red Cross nor anyone else would know who they were Some of these would be sent out for extraordinary rendition CBS s 60 Minutes first exposed the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in April 2004 showing pictures of naked hooded prisoners being tormented But most devastating was the picture of a smiling soldier, Sabrina Harmon, giving the thumbs up over the frozen corpse of Manadel al Jamadi, who the CIA had beaten to death.Some in the administration did object to the widespread use of torture Alberto Mora, General Counsel for the Navy and the entire TJAG group of senior uniformed lawyers strongly dissented from the administration policy but were silenced and then cut out of the loop as War Council members David Addington, DOD General Counsel William Haynes, Office of Legal Counsel lawyer John Yoo and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales controlled dissent at the behest of Cheney with the blessing of Rumsfeld, and the approval of Bush Rumsfeld and Bush would continue to make public statements that detainees were treated humanely John Yoo left the Office of Legal Council in 2003 Jack Goldsmith became its head followed by Dan Levin They along with others would try to scale back the torture policies of the administration but at each step they were outmaneuvered by Cheney, Addington and Gonzales Others who stood up to no avail were Attorney General John Ashcroft and his Deputy, now FBI director, James Comey In 2004 the Supreme Court ruled in two decisions that US law applied to Guantanamo The administration essentially ignored the court Many in Congress from Republican John McCain to Democrat Dick Durbin tried to rally Congress in opposition, but not until the next President, Barack Obama, took office would Bush s torture policies be officially rescinded Not only did the Bush Administration s program frequently fail to produce useful intelligence, it produced a tremendous amount of misleading information wasting valuable resources and leading to false alarms Many innocent people had their lives destroyed The use of torture radicalized countlessterrorists and createdrecruits for al Qaeda America s image abroad and the hope that America provided for abused people around the world was severely damaged

  4. Maggie says:

    He who does battle with monsters needs to watch out lest he in the process becomes a monster himself Friedrich NietzscheIn reaction to Britain s brutal treatment of American prisoners of war, George Washington vowed that this new Democracy would take a higher road Thus, the U.S military doctrine was born, based upon the belief that Brutality undermines military discipline and strengthens the enemy s resolve, while displays of humanity could be used to tactical advantage Since its inc He who does battle with monsters needs to watch out lest he in the process becomes a monster himself Friedrich NietzscheIn reaction to Britain s brutal treatment of American prisoners of war, George Washington vowed that this new Democracy would take a higher road Thus, the U.S military doctrine was born, based upon the belief that Brutality undermines military discipline and strengthens the enemy s resolve, while displays of humanity could be used to tactical advantage Since its inception, this doctrine has certainly been tried, sometimes quite strenuously, but it has remained a fundamental tenet of American government since our country s birth Remained, that is, until the events of September 11, 2001.The attacks of Al Qaeda spun America into a state of chaos and fear, and in this atmosphere came the decision to abandon some of our country s most fundamental beliefs Hell bent on revenge and terrified of further attacks, White House officials deemed it necessary to throw out the old rule book in favor of their own set of rules Despite evidence that torture only produces uncooperative prisoners and questionable information, the Bush Administration felt certain it was the only way to stop further acts of terrorism Surrounding themselves with lawyers charged with seeking out the legal loopholes that would grant the military carte blanche, it was in these dark days when a new doctrine was born one which ignored the Article 5 Tribunals, The Geneva Convention, and the Constitution itself in favor of arresting, detaining, torturing, and even killing anyone with suspected connections to terrorism, no matter how tenuous those connections may have been.On January 27, 2005, President George W Bush, speaking to a New York Times reporter, said, torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that torture But while speaking these words, thousands of prisoners were currently being held without due process in one of America s black sites, Gulag like prisons hosted by as many as eight countries, including Afghanistan Iraq Cuba and, allegedly fledgling democracies such as Poland and Romania Inside these ghost prisons lurked a secret horror show of abuse where enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and exposure to extreme temperatures were often applied by untrained and unqualified guards to prisoners who may or may not have had any information to give What little information was gained was either false or forever clouded by suspicion due to the method in which it was obtained, and in hindsight it s this false information procured by torture that mistakenly connected the events of 9 11 to Iraq.Perhaps essential reading is a distinction too easily granted to too many books, but after reading Jane Mayer s The Dark Side, it struck me that this is a case when it is certainly appropriately applied Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Mayer provides a non partisan narrative of how America lost its way in the aftermath of September 11th Resisting the urge to infuse her own commentary, Mayer lets the events spanning from the attacks of September 11 to the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib scandal speak for themselves, lending the narrative an unmistakable air of credibility Of course, this also makes the story all therepugnant.Like most politically aware Americans, I remember being confused at how an attack by a Afghan based terrorist cell could lead to a war in Iraq, was aware of the goings on at Guantanamo Bay, and was appropriately shocked when the Abu Ghraib story broke, but reading the finer details of these events alongside their causes and effects was both eye opening and overwhelming But though unpleasant, this is a story that demands to be heard, especially now when elections can and should be used to bring events such as these to light Mayer s story is gripping, intensely troubling, and an absolutely necessary reminder of why we Americans deserve better leadership I d strongly encourage each and every one of you to read it

  5. Map says:

    Required reading for every American Jane Mayer documents how a handful of people in the Bush Administration changed the moral course of America and tarnished our global reputation in the name of keeping us safe Benjamin Franklin said that those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserver neither liberty nor safety Well, that s pretty much where we are at Yes, there have been noattacks on U.S soil since 9 11 But that safety was not a product of torture Just because they got a Required reading for every American Jane Mayer documents how a handful of people in the Bush Administration changed the moral course of America and tarnished our global reputation in the name of keeping us safe Benjamin Franklin said that those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserver neither liberty nor safety Well, that s pretty much where we are at Yes, there have been noattacks on U.S soil since 9 11 But that safety was not a product of torture Just because they got a few ambitious people in the justice dept to declare their misguided intentions legal doesn t mean they were And the techniques they all approved were and are torture.Disgraceful Bush, Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld, Yoo and a several others should be brought up on war crimes charges And they should go to jail Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about oral sex, yet these guys lied to get us in a war and the lied about so much else in the name of national security We are Americans we re supposed to be better than our enemies We are the example to the world As The Dark Side shows, for the past seven years, we certainly have not been Let s hope the next four years are better

  6. Andy says:

    Devastating critique of Bush Cheney s deranged emotional response to 9 11 Clarifies not just the abject illegality and anti Americanism of torture, but also its ineffectiveness and dangerous consequences The book is not as tightly written as Mayer s subsequent Dark work Devastating critique of Bush Cheney s deranged emotional response to 9 11 Clarifies not just the abject illegality and anti Americanism of torture, but also its ineffectiveness and dangerous consequences The book is not as tightly written as Mayer s subsequent Dark work

  7. Kathrynn says:

    Eyeopening Glad I opted to read this as it explained a lot of what I d picked up in bits in pieces from other media over the years, but I thought to myself, No way We have too many checks and balances for a single individual to take over The author did a nice job of timelining what happened after September 11, 2001 and how key players and top officials were swept out of the way while Vice President Dick Cheney and his adviser David Addington took over The White House In my opinion, David Eyeopening Glad I opted to read this as it explained a lot of what I d picked up in bits in pieces from other media over the years, but I thought to myself, No way We have too many checks and balances for a single individual to take over The author did a nice job of timelining what happened after September 11, 2001 and how key players and top officials were swept out of the way while Vice President Dick Cheney and his adviser David Addington took over The White House In my opinion, David Addington, Dick Cheney and the other 4 members of the self proclaimed War Council need to be held accountable for their actions George Bush is ultimately responsible for allowing that group to take over and push his advisers under the rug along with completely ignoring the U.S Constitution, the Geneva Convention and a slew of other documents and guidelines that SHOULD have prevented what happened Mr Bush couldn t have been that blind Yes, desperate times called for desperate measures, but from what was described in The Dark Side a handful of power hungry people wanted to change our government system and give the President complete power to arrest, detain, and torture ANYONE for as long as he felt necessary without having to justify, inform, or put on trial ANYONE inside or outside the United States U.S citizen or not WRONG WRONG WRONG.That meant that any of US could have been rounded up and thrown in prison at any time if there was even a slight hint or someone that didn t like us whispered in the right ear Two words Witch hunt I can see how this would have been abused and used long after 9 11 and the detainees went off our radar Three words Abuse of power Information in the book indicated two separate CIA and FBI detainee investigations revealed that maybe 50 prisoners were actually al Queda members, but David Rumsfield, Condoleeza Rice and many other top officials refused to discuss it We freakin paid Pakistan to round up people THEY thought were terrorists, so they rounded up people they didn t like just for our money How wrong is that To never be given a trial, never be told what they were charged with We just went back several hundred years to a time our forefathers and veterans fought hard to have certain rights and in a few swirls of a pen, those rights were obliterated.What about prisoner number 001, John Walker Lindh The evidence in this book indicates he was NOT a member of al Queda The American felt the need to go to Afghanistan and help fight against the Northern Alliance during a time when WE were giving aid to the Taliban as was Saudi Arabia He d been over there for so long and out of touch He was NOT in an al Queda training camp He was beaten and tortured by US , his parents hired a lawyer for him and sent numerous letters to officials, including David Rumsfield, but they told him he had no lawyer To play devil s advocate, even if he or anyone else were linked to al Queda, the Geneva Convention, our countries HONOR, our U.S Constitution.our founding fathers must have been rolling over in their graves to see what inhumane treatment.why didn t anyone try to re educate some of the detainees to show them the better side of America I refuse to call them enemy combatants That s just dumb Prisoners of war are prisoners of war If it walks like a duck.Have we not learned from history Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached for behavior not as severe as what happened in our White House after 9 11 People need to be held accountable What about the way people were bullied inside the political arena, demoted, lost jobs I m all for kicking some serious butt for what happened on 9 11, Somalia, on board the U.S.S Cole to name a few, but we have to maintain our own integrity in the process Reading The Dark Side had this American ashamed of her country for the first time in her life.The four stars were due to some rambling I thought the author did from time to time The last half of the book could have been summed up in a few short chapters

  8. Kurt says:

    No book has ever made me feeldisgusted and outraged The fact that the highest leaders in the U.S government had condoned and authorized torture was really not news to me after seeing the photos of Abu Ghraib in 2004 and the Oscar winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side in 2008 I had also read numerous reports about suspicions and evidence of abuse at Guantanamo and various black sites around the world But the details of abuse of power, secrecy, and coverup by many of our highes No book has ever made me feeldisgusted and outraged The fact that the highest leaders in the U.S government had condoned and authorized torture was really not news to me after seeing the photos of Abu Ghraib in 2004 and the Oscar winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side in 2008 I had also read numerous reports about suspicions and evidence of abuse at Guantanamo and various black sites around the world But the details of abuse of power, secrecy, and coverup by many of our highest elected leaders and their appointees and the criminal passivity of hundreds of other so called public servants that are documented by this book angered methan I was prepared for.While the book was mostly about the ineptitude of President Bush and the criminal activity of evil men like Dick Cheney and David Addington and the sycophantism of others like George Tenet and Alberto Gonzalez, it also tells the story of many other honorable, courageous, and patriotic Americans who stood up to the criminals It is their stories that saves this book from being overwhelmingly depressing

  9. Bill says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here John Adams famously described the American government as one of laws, not of men In eight years, the Bush Administration has reacted to the attacks of September 11, 2001, by turning that dictum on its head in their zeal to ensure that another attack does not occur on their watch In particular, the President s confidence that he is a good man, has led him to embrace the advice of a ruthless cabal within the United States government whose first article of faith is that there are no limitatio John Adams famously described the American government as one of laws, not of men In eight years, the Bush Administration has reacted to the attacks of September 11, 2001, by turning that dictum on its head in their zeal to ensure that another attack does not occur on their watch In particular, the President s confidence that he is a good man, has led him to embrace the advice of a ruthless cabal within the United States government whose first article of faith is that there are no limitations on presidential power in a time of war Jane Mayer s excellent book on the prosecution of the so called War on Terror is a must read not primarily because it reveals new information many of the facts have already been exposed in the nation s media, including in some of Mayer s own articles for the New Yorker Rather, this book adds two essential dimensions to the national debate on the government s actions First, it describes the political and legal decisions of the White House, the Vice President s Office, the Justice Department s Office of Legal Counsel, and the Attorney General to reinterpret, and subvert, the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and the criminal statutes of the United States with horrific consequences Second, in describing those consequences, it paints a farvivid picture of the gruesome consequences of the torture policy than the press s usual glib invocation of water boarding As the book describes, Vice President Dick Cheney s unprecedented ability to control the flow and content of information to the president, coupled with the weight his advice has been given, put him in a unique position to guide the direction of the Administration s policy toward enemy combatants captured on the battlefield or subsequently abducted With Cheney s aide David Addington as the architect in chief, the administration concluded, under the cover of John Yoo s memoranda from the Justice Department, that any limits on the president s power to order torture whether law or treaty could be set aside on the grounds that they were subordinate to the president s constitutional powers as Commander in Chief On the basis of a superficially plausible theory, generally rejected by expert opinion, that the most effective way to obtain information is to inflict a maximum of pain, the Administration provided the C.I.A with authorized methods of torture, many of which had hitherto been acknowledged in the United States and elsewhere to constitute war crimes To the extent these failed to achieve results, the Administration pushed for the infliction ofpain To the extent its actions were opposed or questioned, the Administration made demonstrably false claims about the effectiveness of its illegal methods in obtaining actionable intelligence To the extent that military lawyers in the Judge Advocate General s office and other lawyers risked their careers to restore the rule of law, the seasoned bureaucratic infighters in the Vice President s office, particularly Addington, fought back ferociously.Mayer is no less thorough in describing the hair raising consequences of the Administration s legal decisions In constructing their refined programs of systematic cruelty, the C.I.A and the military drew upon the military s training programs developed to counter Chinese Communist brainwashing and the C.I.A s massive experiments on the effects of prolonged sensory deprivation during the Vietnam War Impressed by the ability of the Communist regimes to force false confessions from prisoners at show trials in the 50 s, the military had researched Communist torture programs in depth in order to train its soldiers to resist as much as possible through its Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape SERE program In a diabolical twist, the C.I.A and the military used the lessons of the SERE program to devise an affirmative program of torture designed to extract information from detainees The fact that torture techniques had proved useful in the past primarily for forcing false confessions does not seem to have given the C.I.A much pause Combined with the C.I.A s own research into the effectiveness of sensory deprivation in creating total mental breakdown and introducing a schizophrenic state, these techniques were used to inflict a maximum of pain on detainees in the expressed hope of extracting information and usually unexpressed hope of exacting revenge In reading the book, one gets a full sense of the brutal consequences of these techniques in combination, and the savagery with which our government s interrogators redoubled the pain they inflicted when they did not get the results they wanted To the extent there were any limits on the suffering our intelligence service imposed, those limits were cast aside when the C.I.A delivered detainees through extraordinary rendition to the secret police of Arab dictatorships such as Egypt and Syria.Jane Mayer s compelling work thus documents not only how vital, and how fragile, is the rule of law, but also reminds us of the terrible consequences that ensue when it breaks down

  10. Clif says:

    At the end of WW2, Europe was devastated, Germany in particular It had reaped what it had sowed German prestige was non existent after the horrors of Nazism and the prestige of the United States could not have been higher The whole world looked to the U.S for the future.Just last week, I saw a ranking of countries in world public opinion Germany was by far and away number one and the United States was well down the list Less than 75 years after being at the top, the U.S has been easily su At the end of WW2, Europe was devastated, Germany in particular It had reaped what it had sowed German prestige was non existent after the horrors of Nazism and the prestige of the United States could not have been higher The whole world looked to the U.S for the future.Just last week, I saw a ranking of countries in world public opinion Germany was by far and away number one and the United States was well down the list Less than 75 years after being at the top, the U.S has been easily surpassed by a country that was despised Power and empire are intimately involved Germany repudiated the corrupting combination of military power and global domination as the U.S embraced it.Jane Meyer s book is an account of how a few people at the top, stung by the attack of 9 11, filled with a sense of outrage, fearful of further attacks, but at the same time drunk on the idea that nothing could limit a U.S president, decided to repudiate the respect for law built up over two centuries, and dropped into the abyss, the dark side.Now you would think conservatives, being the law and order folks they claim to be, would be the last ones to show contempt for the law But there is something about conservatives that might provide a clue to a weak spot they are adamant about the law applying to others, yet consider themselves so upstanding and their motivations so patently correct that their own behavior, in their own eyes, might be considered so worthy as to be law itself.Led by Dick Cheney and his un elected aide, the imperious, brow beating, physically imposing, reclusive David Addington, the simple thinking of President G W Bush was directed, with his eager participation, down a path to kidnapping and torture that spread like a virus from the CIA to the military It produced no significant positive results but a host of negatives including a lying president we don t torture , Guantanamo, the atrocity of Abu Ghraib and the destruction of the physical and mental health of innocent people, ground up in a system that knew no bounds.Richard Nixon was properly denounced for his excesses in the use of power, widely known for his comment that if the president does it, it s legal However, though he and his aides circumvented the law, they knew the law and were attorneys In the case of G W Bush, the law itself was corrupted through the convenient interpretations of attorney John Yoo, an employee at the office of Legal Counsel OLC eager to comply with the wishes of Cheney and Addington This office, intended to advise the president on the legality of proposed policy, was instead subverted into a place to re interpret law to give the appearance of legality to anything and everything the chief executive wanted to do This spat in the face of the long legal tradition the United States had professed to uphold in a chaotic world It threw the doctrine of separation of power out the window allowing the president a tyranny the founding fathers were adamant to prevent.The detailed account Meyer provides leaves no aspect of this legal lawlessness un examined The reader sees into the operations of the CIA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice You will understand torture in detail, the methods and the history of the effort to prevent its use prior to 9 11 From a discussion of the Geneva Conventions to the aircraft numbers on the Gulfstream jet used to render kidnapped suspects to hellish black sites in foreign countries, the whole dark story is here, including the famous Ashcroft sickbed showdown.Never tedious, always finding just the right amount of detail, clearly describing each person and subject at hand, Meyer expertly puts to paper the results of her voluminous research This book is historical documentation at the highest level I just wish it had the subtitle conservatives gone wild

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