Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pg. 99: Karen Greenberg's "The Least Worst Place"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days by Karen Greenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
In January 2002, the first flight of detainees captured in the "Global War on Terror" disembarked in Guantanamo Bay, dazed, bewildered, and--more often than not--alarmingly thin. Given very little advance notice, the military's preparations for this group of predominantly unimportant ne'er-do-wells were hastily thrown together, but as Karen Greenberg shows, a number of capable and honorable Marine officers tried to create a humane and just detention center--only to be thwarted by the Bush Administration.

The Least Worst Place is a gripping narrative account of the first one hundred days of Guantanamo. Greenberg, one of America's leading experts on the Bush Administration's policies on terrorism, tells the story through a group of career officers who tried--and ultimately failed--to stymie the Pentagon's desire to implement harsh new policies in Guantanamo and bypass the Geneva Conventions. She sets her story in Camp X-Ray, which underwent a remarkably quick transformation from a sleepy naval outpost in the tropics into a globally infamous holding pen. Peopled with genuine heroes and villains, this narrative of the earliest days of the post-9/11 era centers on the conflicts between Gitmo-based Marine officers intent on upholding the Geneva Accords and an intelligence unit set up under the Pentagon's aegis. The latter ultimately won out, replacing transparency with secrecy, military protocol with violations of basic operation procedures, and humane and legal detainee treatment with harsh interrogation methods and torture.

Guantanamo's first 100 days set up patterns of power that would come to dominate the Bush administration's overall strategy in the war on terror. Karen Greenberg's riveting account puts a human face on this little-known story, revealing how America first lost its moral bearings in the wake of 9/11.
Learn more about The Least Worst Place at the Oxford University Press website.

Karen J. Greenberg is Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security, New York University School of Law. She is the editor of numerous books, including The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib and the well known Terrorist Trial Report Card which has tracked all US terrorism cases to go through the US courts since 9/11.

The Page 99 Test: The Least Worst Place.

--Marshal Zeringue