Book Review: ‘Guantanamo Diary,’ by Mohamedou Ould Slahi

By Deborah Pearlstein

Deborah Pearlstein is an associate professor of law at Cardozo Law School in New York. She was on the first team of independent military commission monitors to visit Guantanamo in 2004.

January 20, 2015 Washington Post


By Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Edited by Larry Siems
Little, Brown. 379 pp. $29

Now entering its 13th year, public discussion about the future of detention operations at Guantanamo Bay has become a perverse fixture of American national security policy debate. On one side is a bipartisan array of authorities from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Rodham Clinton, two U.S. presidents (George W. Bush and Barack Obama), dozens of retired U.S. field and flag officers (including the general first tasked with establishing the prison and the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) — all urging that the prison be shuttered. Their reasons are concrete. The prison is a recruitment boon for our enemies, a profound hurdle to counterterrorism cooperation for our allies, and an obstacle in our efforts to advance the cause of democracy and human dignity worldwide.

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