Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pg. 69: "Oath Betrayed"

Friend of the Blog Cary Federman generously responded when I asked him to apply the page 69 test to whatever he was presently reading. He writes:

I am currently reviewing Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror for Nursing Inquiry. It’s a fascinating book about the role of members of the health professions in the war on terror, in particular, their participation in torture and their silence in the face of torture. In any event, page 69:

An autopsy on December 13 [2002] found that Dilawar’s death was a homicide, caused by extensive and severe “blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease” (inexplicably, “coronary artery disease” is typed on the death certificate in a different font). The Pentagon reported that the prisoner died of natural causes. Later, a coroner testified that Dilawar’s legs were “pulpified” and that the body looked as if it had been “run over by a truck.” Soldiers delivered the body and an English-language death certificate to his wife and two daughters in January 2003. The family could not read English….Dilawar has two or three death certificates…A year and a half after the death, the Pentagon released another death certificate, finalized on May 20, 2004, that does not describe the circumstances in which the body was found.

This terrifying excerpt does not deal with the heart of the book’s overall point, but it does nicely capture its spirit.

Many thanks to Cary for the analysis.

Previous entries in the "page 69" series:

Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck

Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue