Saturday, November 29, 2008
Jane Meyer's book on the coercive interrogation techniques and other extraordinary means used to deal with the terrorists, On the Dark Side, has received a great deal of praise from the left side of the legal academy, such as at Balkinization. Having seen her interviewed on C Span, I was tempted to read the book, but she just came across as so sanctimonious and one sided that I just didn't think I could bear it. This was also how her hatchet job some years ago on Clarence Thomas came across.
Now, Benjamin Wittes, certainly no right winger, reviews the book and reaches the same conclusion in a review, aptly named, One Side Only. Wittes concludes:
I learned a lot from Mayer’s reporting, and much of it is probably correct. For its impressive detail, its narrative depth, and its disturbing accounts of what is taking place in the invisible recesses of America’s confrontation with the enemy, The Dark Side is a genuine contribution. What it isn’t, however, is either fair or remotely rigorous in its snap assessments of the costs and benefits of both the path America took and the paths it did not take.