‘… the most dramatic, sustained and radical challenge to the rule of law in American history’

Today in his New York Times column, Bob Herbert reviews Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side, highlighting her emphasis on David Addington’s role as lead architect in the Administration’s legal strategy for the war on terror:

The U.S. shamed itself on George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s watch, and David Addington and others like him were willing to manipulate the law like Silly Putty to give them the legal cover they desired. Ms. Mayer noted that Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the late historian, believed that “the Bush administration’s extralegal counterterrorism program presented the most dramatic, sustained and radical challenge to the rule of law in American history.” After reflecting on major breakdowns of law that occurred in prior administrations, including the Watergate disaster, Mr. Schlesinger told Ms. Mayer: “No position taken has done more damage to the American reputation in the world — ever.”

Mr. Herbert points out how much of this occurred outside of the awareness of the public, and calls for the whole truth to come out, and for as many of the wrongs as possible to be rectified. Ms. Mayer’s book lays out clearly the story of what has happened in the United States since September 11.

Even as she puts together a coherent narrative of what took place (and perpetrated by whom) behind the doors of the White House, every page renews this reader’s sense of outrage and incredulousness. In other words, I can’t put it down.

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Published on July 22, 2008

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