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Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse The Least Worst Place
for showing how we went from the moral high ground
to becoming no better than our enemies.

The Least Worst Place
Guantanamo's First 100 Days

The Least Worst Place by Karen Greenberg (2010) - 288 pages
The Least Worst Place at Amazon.com

In January 2002, the first flight of detainees captured in the "global war on terror" disembarked in Guantanamo Bay, dazed, bewildered, and hungry. Given the sudden demands of the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military's preparations for the detainees' arrival had been rushed. Yet as Karen Greenberg shows, a number of capable and honorable commanders were ready to manage the difficult situation as best they could.

The Least Worst Place is a gripping narrative account of the first 100 days of Guantanamo after the Bush administration chose it as the primary site to house detainees in its global war on terror. Greenberg, one of America's leading voices on U.S. counterterrorism policy, tells the story through a group of career officers who tried, and ultimately failed, to stymie the Pentagon's decision to implement a harsh new detainee policy in Guantanamo and bypass the Geneva Conventions shortly after the prisoners arrived. The story is set in Guantanamo's Camp X-Ray, which underwent a rapid transformation from a sleepy and nearly forgotten U.S. naval outpost in the tropics into a globally infamous holding pen. Her 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 Conventions and a cadre of Army offices handpicked by Donald Rumsfeld that had little use for "humane" detention policies. The latter ultimately won out, and torture became state policy.

Her riveting account of how actors with other intentions took over the camp humanizes the larger story of how America lost its moral bearings in the global war on terror.

Karen Greenberg is the Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law and a frequent commentator on issues related to the war on terror, ranging from detention and torture to the terrorist threat. 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 terrorism prosecutions in the U.S. federal courts since 9/11. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Nation, the American Prospect, and may other publications.

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The Least Worst Place
Guantanamo's First 100 Days

Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse The Least Worst Place
for showing how we went from the moral high ground
to becoming no better than our enemies.