Read The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days by Karen J. Greenberg Online

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Named one of the Washington Post Book World's Best Books of 2009, The Least Worst Place offers 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'sNamed one of the Washington Post Book World's Best Books of 2009, The Least Worst Place offers 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. 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. 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....

Title : The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780195371888
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 260 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days Reviews

  • Tin Wee
    2018-08-30 20:11

    An examination of how America conducted itself at Gitmo, and how early attempts at a humane treatment of the detainees were thwarted by political intervention. Its a sad story of how America lost the moral high ground in dealing with the enemy, by sinking to the level of the enemy.

  • David F.
    2018-09-13 17:51

    In the wake of September eleventh, the U.S.-led "War onTerror" began with nearly the entire world sympathetic toAmerica's cause and condemning al-Qaeda. It didn't takelong for the Bush administrations ham-fisted response toreverse much of the world's feelings in the matter. Amongthe most influential of the policy disasters that won thesympathies of so many for al-Qaeda was the detentionfacility at Guantanamo Bay. In The Least Worst Place, KarenGreenberg, director of NYU’s Center on Law and Security,takes a close-up look at the first hundred days (fromDecember 2001 thru March 2002) in the life of Camp X-Ray,the initial detention facility for prisoners from the invasionof Afghanistan. She examines the persons and pressuresthat shaped Camp X-Ray into a world-wide embarrassmentfor the U.S..The U.S. has maintained a naval base (designated GTMOor"Gitmo") on Cuba's Guantanamo Bay since 1903 when itwas one of the "spoils of war" acquired as a result of theSpanish-American War. Gitmo had previously served as aprison camp for Haitian refugees from the 1970's until itwas declared unconstitutional to do so in 1993.Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 the DefenseDepartment again turned to Gitmo as a secure site outsidethe continental U.S. for a prison camp. The specialattraction of Gitmo over established facilities in the U.S. layin a bizarre interpretation of law that held that as long asthe prisoners were held outside the U.S., their confinementwas not subject to U.S. laws. Camp X-Ray at Guantanamowas quickly established as a temporary facility untilconstruction of the more permanent Camp Delta wascompleted.The Bush administration asserted -- falsely as the courtssubsequently concluded and as a plain reading of theGeneva Conventions would have shown -- that the detaineeswere "unlawful combatants" and thus not covered by theGeneva Convention. Hence there was no standard for howthey were to be treated while in detention. The marinescharged with guarding them at Camp X-Ray and theAmerican public were told that the detainees were "theworst of the worst" -- hardened al-Qaeda and Talibanzealots.When the first detainees arrived from Bagram Air ForceBase in Afghanistan, they didn't live up to the Marine'sexpectations. Instead of hardened, fanatical fighting men,most of the detainees seemed to be malnourished andrather passive, with a number being elderly and someothers being children. Even their language was, in mostcases, not the Arabic the guards were expecting, butPersian and Pashto, the national languages of Afghanistan.The circumstances of their capture were unknown toanyone, their personal effects had been mixed together andcould not be matched to their owner, and the Pentagonrefused to support any measures that would pin down theirlegal status as combatants or civilians.The Marine staff, officially known as Joint Task Force 160(JTF-160), under the command of Marine Brigadier GeneralMichael Lehnert, sought to create a detention facility thatwould comply with the Geneva Conventions and theUniform Code of Military Justice. Initially left on their own,Gen. Lehnert and his staff struggled to strike a balancebetween confinement and humane treatment of theirprisoners. After the first few months, however, Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld began to take a direct interest inthe operations of Camp X-Ray and in its ability to validatehis distorted version of reality in the "War on Terror".In February, 2002, Rumsfeld created a second, parallelcommand under reservist Major General Michael Dunlaveythat was designated JTF-170. This parallel command wasapparently established as an alternative to trying to give theprofessional military of JTF-160 orders to performinterrogations in a manner that violated the GenevaConvention. Rather than work through the unit in charge ofdetention, they chose to work around it. Eighteen monthslater a similar parallel organization structure was establishedat the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where it also contributedto a breakdown of administration and a pattern of humanrights violations. The two commands existed side by side atGitmo until they were merged into a single Joint Task ForceGTMO under General Geoffrey Miller in November of 2002.It is perhaps ironic that the same Gen. Miller was later sentto Abu Ghraib to unify the parallel commands there.While Gen. Dunlavey and his JTF-170, like Gen. Lehnertand JTF-160, nominally reported to the U.S. SouthernCommand, he also had a direct channel to SecretaryRumsfeld. As Greenberg points out, Gen. Dunlavey was in aposition to pick and choose which information to convey upeach line of authority. There was a continuing clashbetween the two units and the opposed priorities of theircommanders, but Gen. Dunlavey held the higher rank andhad greater ties to Washington, so his priorities andpolicies prevailed.When he first arrived at Guantanamo to command JTF-160,even before the detainees were enroute, Gen. Lehnertrequested the presence at Camp X-Ray of representativesfrom the Red Cross. While the presence of Red Crossobservers at any such facility is normal military practice,in this case his request was denied by the Pentagon.Meanwhile, at U.S. Southern Command there waswidespread agreement that a Red Cross presence wasnecessary. Finally, one of the military lawyers at SouthernCommand frustrated by the Pentagon's refusal to complywith international law called the Red Cross in Geneva andinvited them to send observers to Guantanamo. SecretaryRumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs were not pleased by thisaction and let the lawyer know it. While they would laterclaim to have invited the Red Cross is, they actually soughtto delay or divert the Red Cross inspection when they werefaced with its imminence.While Greenberg more than adequately documents theongoing violations of human rights that have occurred atthe Gitmo detention facilities, her account is not just anexposé of Guantanamo horrors. The grand theme of thisbook is the importance of the rule of law, which must neverbe subordinated to claims of national security, patriotism,or God being on our side. It is her point, that it is dutifuladherence to international law, not personal integrity, thatis the foundation and ultimate guarantor of humane policyin world affairs. This is a lesson that not only needs to bewell learned by our national leaders, who have all to oftenfailed to behave decently, but one that every citizen of ademocracy needs to learn, because the public has all toooften proved eager to support leaders in abandoning therule of law and democratic values. The terrorists, of course,rely upon and benefit from knee jerk reactions such asGuantanamo, Abu Ghraib, or the Patriot Act.

  • Phillip Taylor
    2018-09-08 01:13

    Karen Greenberg's view of an imprisoned ideology which has insulted a new generation. Reviewed by Phillip Taylor MBE.I come to this book from a very different standpoint to that of Karen Greenberg because I have served in the armed forces, and I am a practising lawyer.For anyone involved in law enforcement and custodial systems, certain rules must be followed in a civilised society- they weren't here. Greenberg, from her perspective, outlines (with edge) the initial phase of this 'custodial operation' beginning with the concept of confinement which gives the public a rest from these alleged terrorists' acivities, to outright torture...without trial.The 'T' word (torture, not trial) must be used sparingly but the evidence which Greenberg assembles from observers and participants between December 21, 2001 to March 31, 2002 is compelling...and damning.The book makes disturbing reading, especially for Obama supporters who now see some idea of the measure of responsibility and the task set for the new President to make amends.There is only one conclusion to this book- it mustn't happen again. And how many times have we heard that before? The title 'The Least Worst Place' is just the start of the twisting and the bending of policies which Allies and supporters had trustingly placed in Bush's administration.To say the US has lost its moral bearings with this camp is strong but just when Greenberg provides excellent footnotes to justify her assertions albeit it from her left wing perspective which I have no quarrel with here as this is not about 'left' or 'right' wing to me.This book should be read to remind people of how not to behave when we are the 'good guys' for fear of turning us into the 'bad guys'...which is exactly what has happened with Guantanamo.As a lawyer, my basic creed, like that of saving life with a doctor, is to try people fairly, telling them what they are accused of- not to lock people up without trial and throw away the key whilst the inmates suffer serious violence. The behaviour at this prison was not acceptable and I find no words in mitigation. I am glad Karen Greenberg has written this book- she ends it with 'what goes around comes around'- the conclusion of the man on the Clapham Omnibus is that the circle must be stopped in the 21st century, and there are no excuses in a civilised society.

  • Phillip Taylor
    2018-09-10 21:07

    AN IMPRISONED IDEOLOGY WHICH HAS INSULTED A NEW GENERATIONReviewed by Phillip Taylor MBEI come to this book from a very different standpoint to that of Karen Greenberg because I have served in the armed forces, and I am a lawyer.For anyone involved in law enforcement and custodial systems, certain rules must be followed in a civilised society- they weren't here. Greenberg, from her perspective, outlines (with edge) the initial phase of this 'custodial operation' beginning with the concept of confinement which gives the public a rest from these alleged terrorists' activities, to outright torture...without trial.The 'T' word (torture, not trial) must be used sparingly but the evidence which Greenberg assembles from observers and participants between December 2001 and 31st March 2002 is both compelling ... and damning.The book makes disturbing reading, especially for Obama supporters who now see some idea of the measure of responsibility and the task set for the new President to make amends.There is only one conclusion to this book- it mustn't happen again. And how many times have we heard that before? The title 'The Least Worst Place' is just the start of the twisting and the bending of policies which Allies and supporters had trustingly placed in Bush's administration.To say the US has lost its moral bearings with this camp is strong but just when Greenberg provides excellent footnotes to justify her assertions albeit it from her left wing perspective which I have no quarrel with here as this is not about 'left' or 'right' wing to me.This book should be read to remind people of how not to behave when we are the 'good guys' for fear of turning us into the 'bad guys'...which is exactly what has happened with Guantanamo.As a lawyer, my basic creed, like that of saving life with a doctor, is to try people fairly, telling them what they are accused of- not to lock people up without trial and throw away the key whilst the inmates suffer serious violence. The behaviour at this prison was not acceptable and I find no words in mitigation. I am glad Karen Greenberg has written this book- she ends it with 'what goes around comes around'- the conclusion of the man on the Clapham Omnibus is that the circle must be stopped in the 21st century, and there are no excuses in a civilised society.

  • Lorrie
    2018-08-25 02:12

    This was a good description of what was happening at the early days of the Guantanamo Bay prison and it paints a convincing picture that things could have gone another way. It shows the tensions within the military command structure and among the different branches, as well as tensions in the civilian leadership (notably between the Department of State's and the Department of Defense's offices of legal counsel).The story is definitely told from the point of view of the military commanders, not the guards, and not the detainees. This isn't all bad, it shows that among the commanders there were tendencies to work within the orders given to move to a more detention/humanitarian mode from a prison/interrogation model. It's also clear which path the author favors, not that I disagreed with her. While the book is valuable in illustrating the path not chosen and helping see the mindset of the commanders in the field, there are definitely voices that are not as central a part of this book.I also learned a lot about what was going on at Guantanamo at the times when I was probably least aware of it. There are a lot of interesting details like how the guards reacted to English speaking prisoners and the interactions with the ICRC. Definitely recommended for those interested in the topic even though I didn't give it 5 stars.

  • Nora
    2018-09-15 01:02

    This is an easy read that gives a look into pieces of the Guantanamo story that most Americans don't know. Greenberg does a nice job drawing together the facts and lays them out in a history book that reads at the pace of an action novel.***The plan may have been primarily to teach the world a lesson: Americans can be as cruel as others. Americans can turn their backs on law and reciprocity among nations as well as any tribally organized dictatorship can. Americans can dehumanize other human beings by a reliance on fear and the human impulse toward vengeance (4506, Kindle Edition).

  • Mary
    2018-08-31 21:01

    This book sounds very interesting as reviewed in The Washington Post. Hope my library picks it up soon!

  • Jean Liota
    2018-08-23 21:04

    Just saw this on Jon Stewart. Looks like a must-read. Might explain how we got into this mess.