BOOK REVIEW: A history of the War Resisters League, 1915-1963
- Written by Abe DeJamminen
Michael Foley of CUNY's College of Staten Island calls Scott H. Bennett's Radical Pacifism: The War Resisters League and Gandhian Nonviolence in America, 1915-1963 (Syracuse UP, 2003) "required reading for advanced students of American peace history and for activists looking ahead to four more years (and four more wars?) of the Bush administration." ...
BOOKS: 'Wal-Mart imports more goods from China than do Britain or France'
- Written by Jay Ruskin
The editor of the Asia edition of the Financial Times (UK), which is sometimes called Britain's Wall Street Journal, reviews here two new volumes that are agog at the spectacle of China's economic expansion. -- "Both books demonstrate how the range and depth of interactions between the U.S. and Chinese economies reduce the constraints on China's rise," writes John Ridding....
BOOK EXCERPT: <I>The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib</I>
- Written by Madeleine Lee
The legal memoranda that laid the basis for the full-fledged embrace of torture by the U.S. national security state fill most of the 1200 pages of a scholarly volume published by Cambridge University Press in January. -- Its title: The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib. -- In this excerpt from some of the book's introductory material, Joshua Dratel remarks: "Rarely, if ever, has such a guilty governmental conscience been so starkly illuminated in advance." -- Dratel lays bare the bad faith and betrayal of American values of which the flag-wearing defenders of torture should be accused: "The message that these memoranda convey in response is unmistakable: these policy makers do not like our system of justice, with its checks and balances, and rights and limits, that they have been sworn to uphold. That antipathy for and distrust of our civilian and military justice systems is positively un-American." -- "However," he adds, "that distaste for our justice system was not symmetrical, as the memos reveal how the legal analysis was contrived to give the policy architects and those who implemented it the benefit of doubt on issues of intent and criminal responsibility while at the same time eagerly denying such accommodations to those at whom the policies were directed." -- Dratel is optimistic that the tide has turned definitively against the perpatrators of these legal briefs: "The threshold premise here, that Guantanamo Bay is outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts, was soundly rejected by the Supreme Court last June in Rasul v. Bush, and the successive conclusions built upon that premise will, like the corrupted dominoes they are, tumble in due course. There they will join the other legally instituted but forever discredited stains upon U.S. legal history: the internment of Japanese during World War II, the treatment of Native Americans, and slavery." -- It is certainly far too soon to take comfort in the triumph of justice, though: those who produced The Torture Papers are still at the helm and, though its existence is only rarely and fleetingly alluded to in the mainstream media, they continue to operate a worldwide gulag in which the bitter fruits of torture continue to be nurtured, planting their seeds for God only knows what future harvest. -- What is more, many of them, including their chief executive, seem to believe that their actions have been condoned by victory in a presidential election where the embrace of torture by purported defenders of national security never became an issue. -- Joshua Dratel concludes: "As citizens, we surely enjoy rights, but just as surely responsibilities as well. We cannot look the other way while we implicitly authorize our elected officials to do the dirty work, and then, like Capt. Renault in 'Casablanca,' be 'shocked' that transgressions have occurred under our nose. The panic-laden fear generated by the events of Sept. 11th cannot serve as a license -- for our government in its policies, or ourselves in our personal approach to grave problems -- to suspend our constitutional heritage, our core values as a nation, or the behavioral standards that mark a civilized and humane society. That type of consistency in the face of danger, in the face of the unknown, defines courage, and presents a road map for a future of which we can be proud." ...