In this month’s issue of the New York Review of Books, Georgetown law professor David Cole references Administration of Torture, the book by ACLU attorneys Amrit Singh and Jameel Jaffer. The book shows, through documents released under the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the connection between the highest levels of the Bush administration and the torture of prisoners that took place in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, and other U.S.-run overseas detention facilities.
Must we then settle for the judgment of history that Ashcroft worried about? In some sense, that judgment has already begun to take shape, thanks to the efforts of Sands, Ratner, enterprising journalists like Mark Danner and Jane Mayer, and especially the ACLU, which forced the disclosure of over 100,000 documents on the interrogation policy by filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. Administration of Torture, a guide to those documents with excerpts from the most interesting, will prove an immensely useful resource for future historians.
In its final, waning days, the Bush administration continues to assert that torture works, despite much evidence to the contrary. We’re asking the incoming Obama administration to put a stop to this shameful practice and to restore America’s moral standing in the world.