Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights (Nation Books)

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9781560254898: Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights (Nation Books)

Have human rights as we once understood them become obsolete since 9-11? Aren't new methods needed to combat the apocalyptic violence of al-Qaeda? Shouldn't we sacrifice some rights to make us all safer? And if we can kill a combatant in battle, why shouldn't we torture them if it will save lives? William Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, examines these and other fundamental questions through the prism of our new consciousness about terrorism in this provocative new book. It questions America's own ambivalent record—its tainted legacy—and addresses recent human rights violations: the imprisonment without charge of non-citizens and the violation of the Geneva Convention at Guantanamo Bay. Schulz writes, "One of Osama bin Laden's goals is to destroy the solidarity of the international community and undermine the norms and standards that have sustained that community since the end of World War II. The great irony of the post-9/11 world is that, when it comes to human rights, the United States has been doing his work for him."

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About the Author:

William F. Schulz is Executive Director of Amnesty International (USA) and is currently a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, and is Chair of the Board of Meadville/Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago.

From Booklist:

Readers can be forgiven for thinking: not another post-September 11 book. But this one is definitely worth reading because it focuses on an ever-more touchy issue that has been around since long before the terrorist attacks: the not-so-stellar human rights record of the U.S. government. While he uses post-9/11 events as his jumping-off point, Schulz (executive director of Amnesty International) asks questions that have been asked, with alarming frequency, for a couple of centuries. Are human rights fundamental in all circumstances, or are they malleable, shifting with the political winds? Even assuming President Bush's "War on Terrorism" to be a valid enterprise--something the author vigorously debates--is a state of war sufficient justification for suspending basic rights and freedoms? Does a state of war justify, for example, treating people who travel as though they are, almost by definition, suspected terrorists? A mixture of philosophical argument and anecdote (the book is full of apparent abuses of authority), this is one post-9/11 book with themes that are truly timeless. David Pitt
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