Reviews

7/19/2016 – New review of American Nuremberg from New School history professor Jeremy Varon, appearing in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Excerpt:

“Scholar-activist Rebecca Gordon has published a bold new book that takes on this current age of injustice. In American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes, she proposes a formal tribunal to prosecute members of the Bush team for the invasion of Iraq as an illegal war and for erecting a sordid global torture program. Gordon names as potential defendants ex-president Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, military leaders, and a handful of conniving Department of Justice (DoJ) attorneys and executive branch staffers.…

“The bodies of law these government officials potentially violated range from the Geneva Conventions and the 1996 War Crimes Act to the Convention Against Torture. Parsing the language of relevant statutes, and presenting initial evidence of their breech, Gordon makes a persuasive case that any such tribunal might well convict the defendants. Her claim is nothing less than that our government, at its highest levels, committed war crimes akin to leading Nazi figures and countless other murderous statesmen.

“The charge is serious. But Gordon makes it with steady conviction and legal and ethical rigor. The stakes go way beyond attitudes toward a controversial presidency and its widely reviled executors, such as Dick Cheney. They speak to the heart of what the United States is, or chooses to be.”

Read the whole review here.

8/13/2014 – New review from playwright Karen Malpede, appearing in Torture Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:

“Rebecca Gordon’s Mainstreaming Torture is written in a lucid and elegant prose. She combines the sensibility of a moral philosopher with that of political activist. As such, she represents the best American tradition of deep, free thinking, nonviolent stance-taker for the public good (think Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Barbara Deming, Grace Paley). This is, unfortunately, a tradition currently in short supply. For as Gordon and others, like Darius Rejali, point out, the majority of Americans now favor torture “to keep us safe”. This percentage has been on the rise ever since President Obama came to office, with his promises to end torture (using drone warfare, instead, to annihilate “terrorists”) and to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

“The inclination to torture, and acceptance of murder by drone, by the majority of citizens of the world’s most powerful liberal democracy is explicable only if we understand that this is a nation in the grip of irrational fear of the other….This abiding fear Gordon boldly says has made us a nation of cowards…” Read the whole review here.

“This remarkable morally and politically challenging and courageous work confronts unblinkingly the profoundly disturbing truth that both popular and scholarly discourses in America consistently distort and sanitize the essential nature of the torture that has become a socially embedded practice in our country. If you care about our national character, consider these insightful and telling analyses and demand an appropriate accounting from our political leaders.”
Henry Shue, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford

“We would rather avoid facing the reality of torture. In this book, Gordon shows us that our primary ways of thinking about torture are in fact ways of avoiding the full reality of it. Arguments for and against torture treat it as isolated acts by individuals, but Gordon shows that torture is embedded in a system of social practices with a set of moral habits which are in many ways fostered by society as a whole. This is a well-researched, well-argued, and disturbing book.”
William T. Cavanaugh, Professor of Theology, DePaul University

“Torture by our U.S. military and spies is not new. Nor is it the result of a few bad apples. Gordon documents the systematic teaching and use of torture by the U.S. since Vietnam. This excellent book challenges us to end torture. Not only by prosecuting the front line people who get caught, but also going after the high-ranking public officials who are torture’s intellectual authors.”
Bill Quigley, Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans

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