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The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Bookby Michael Ratner
Synopses & Reviews
The Case Against Donald Rumsfeld lays out the evidence that high–level officials of the Bush administration ordered, authorized, implemented, and permitted war crimes, in particular the crimes of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Using primary source documents ranging from Rumsfeld’s “techniques chart” and Iraqi plaintiffs’ statements to the testimony of whistleblowers and key pieces of reportage, the book sets forth evidence of a torture program that took place throughout the world: in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo, secret CIA prisons, and other places unknown.
The accused are accorded a defense drawn from their memos and public statements. Readers are allowed to judge whether the Bush administration has engaged in torture and whom among the administration to hold responsible.
Reminiscent of Christopher Hitchens’s bestselling The Trial of Henry Kissinger, The Case Against Donald Rumsfeld constitutes one of the only attempts to hold high–ranking Bush administration officials criminally responsible for their actions.
"The Bush administration's security and intelligence-gathering policies have inspired few critiques as thorough as Ratner's. The president of the progressive Center for Constitutional Rights presents a mock trial of 14 U.S. government and military officials, Donald Rumsfeld chief among them; with immunity from criminal prosecution while in office, Bush and Cheney are named as unindicted co-conspirators. The charge is torture and war crimes. The opening statement describes the Bush administration's alleged 'torture program' in detail and the role the 'defendants' played. The 'prosecution evidence' includes statements of former Abu Ghraib and Guantnamo detainees describing tortures such as sleep deprivation, water-boarding and stress positions. Ratner presents the defense primarily through government documents, such as the infamous John Yoo memo rejecting the application of the Geneva Accords to detainees. This 'defense' is followed by a rebuttal based on international law that systematically rejects the government's arguments. Of course, a real trial would give the defense an opening and closing statement, and books don't allow for cross-examination. Though his case appears strong, Ratner's conceit will appeal primarily to those who have already voted 'guilty.' Photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Perceiving little hope at the current moment of bringing former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (and fellow conspirators) to an actual court of law, Ratner (president, Center for Constitutional Rights) has instead fashioned this trial-by-book. He presents the case that Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, CIA Director George Tenant, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, Lieutentant General Ricardo Sanchez, and a number of other military and White House figures are guilty of concocting and implementing an illegal torture program (Bush and Cheney remain unindicted co-conspirators only until they finish their terms in office). After summarizing the indictment, he lays out evidence for the prosecution, which consists of testimony from former Guantanamo detainees, Rumsfeld's memos authorizing torture techniques, stories of Iraqi plaintiffs, excerpts of General Taguba's report on the Abu Ghraib scandal, an interview with a former US Army interrogator, and testimony regarding command responsibility from the commanding officer of the Abu Ghraib prison and from army investigative reports into the scandal. The defense case consists of memos from White House lawyers claiming the legality of the program, George Bush's 2002 memo declaring that "unlawful combatants" be treated humanely to "the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity," Rumsfeld's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, and an op-ed by Alberto Gonzalez. The defense is followed by the rebuttal of the Center for Constitutional Rights and photos from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib as exhibits. Also included is an epilogue that provides context concerning the prosecution of war crimes. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A civil rights organization lays out the evidence that high-level officials of the Bush administration ordered, authorized, and permitted war crimes. This work constitutes one of the only attempts to hold high-ranking Bush administration officials criminally responsible for their actions.
The evidence that the Bush administration is guilty of war crimes, presented in the form of a court case brought by one of the premier civil rights organizations in the United States.
About the Author
Michael Ratneris the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which, along with other human rights groups, filed a war crimes lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, and other U.S. officials in Germany under the country's universal jurisdiction law. He lives in New York City.
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