Talking About Torture : How Political Discourse Shapes the Debate
When the photographs depicting torture at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison were released in 2004, U.S. politicians attributed the incident to a few bad apples in the American military, exonerated high-ranking members of the George W. Bush administration, promoted Guantánamo as a model prison, and dismissed the illegality of the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation." By the end of the Bush administration, members of both major congressional parties had come to denounce enhanced interrogation as torture and argue for the closing of Guantánamo.
What initiated this shift? In Talking About Torture, Jared Del Rosso reviews transcripts from congressional hearings and scholarship on denial, torture, and state violence to document this wholesale change in rhetoric and attitude toward the use of torture by the CIA and the U.S. military during the War on Terror. He plots the evolution of the "torture issue" in U.S. politics and its manipulation by politicians to serve various ends. Most important, Talking About Torture integrates into the debate about torture the testimony of those who suffered under American interrogation practices and demonstrates how the conversation continues to influence current counterterrorism policies, such as the reliance on drones.