Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror
“This, quite simply, is the most devastating and detailed investigation into a question that has remained a no-no in the current debate on American torture in
George Bush’s war on terror: the role of military physicians, nurses, and other
medical personnel. Dr. Miles writes in a white rage, with great justification–but he lets the facts tell the story.” –Seymour M. Hersh, author of Chain of Command
Random House released a title last month that should find a home on your bookshelf. Steven H. Miles M.D., an expert on medical ethics, human rights and international health care, wrote Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror and just the synopsis on Random House's website made my jaw drop:
The graphic photographs of U.S. military personnel grinning over abused Arab and Muslim prisoners shocked the world community. That the United States was
systematically torturing inmates at prisons run by its military and civilian leaders divided the nation and brought deep shame to many. When Steven H. Miles,
an expert in medical ethics and an advocate for human rights, learned of the
neglect, mistreatment, and torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay,
and elsewhere, one of his first thoughts was: “Where were the prison doctors
while the abuses were taking place?”
In Oath Betrayed, Miles explains the answer to this question. Not only were doctors, nurses, and medics silent while prisoners were abused; physicians and psychologists provided information that helped determine how much and what kind of mistreatment could be delivered to detainees during interrogation. Additionally, these harsh examinations were monitored by health professionals operating under the purview of the U.S. military.
Miles has based this book on meticulous research and a wealth of resources, including unprecedented eyewitness accounts from actual victims of prison abuse, and more than thirty-five thousand pages of documentation acquired through provisions of the Freedom of Information Act: army criminal investigations, FBI notes on debriefings of prisoners, autopsy reports, and prisoners’ medical records. These documents tell a story markedly different from the official version of the truth, revealing involvement at every level of government, from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the Pentagon’s senior health officials to prison health-care personnel.
Oath Betrayed is not a denunciation of American military policy or of war in general, but of a profound betrayal of traditions that have shaped the medical corps of the United States armed forces and of America’s abdication of its leadership role in international human rights. This book is a vital document that will both open minds and reinvigorate Americans’ understanding of why human rights matter, so that we can reaffirm and fortify the rules for international civil society.
The San Francisco Chronicle published a review in today's edition of its newspaper and here's a sample of what it had to say about a story on a detainee named Dilawar:
"Dilawar was a twenty-two-year-old farmer and taxi driver, whom American soldiers tortured to death over five days at Bagram Collection Point in Afghanistan in December, 2002. When the soldiers put a sandbag over his head, Dilawar complained that he could not breathe. He was then shackled and suspended from his arms for hours, denied water, and beaten so severely that his legs would have been amputated had he survived. When he was beaten with a baton, he would cry 'Allah, Allah', which guards found so amusing that they beat him some more just to hear him cry. During his final interrogation, soldiers told the delirious, injured prisoner that he would get medical attention after the session. Instead, he was returned to a cell and chained to the ceiling. Several hours later, a physician found him dead."
"By then, the interrogators had concluded that Dilawar was innocent and had simply been picked up after driving his new taxi by the wrong place at the wrong time."
If that doesn't make you outraged, this quote should send your blood temperature to the boiling point:
Dilawar was far from alone: Miles notes that Army experts "estimated that 80
percent to 90 percent of arriving Abu Ghraib prisoners either had no intelligence value or were outright innocent."
Don't get mad at the Bush administration. Get even. Click here to read more about Oath Betrayed on Random House's website or order it from Barnes & Noble by clicking here.
Technorati Tags: Blogathon 2006, Torture, Human rights, Oath Betrayed