Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger

Our Nation Unhinged

The Human Consequences of the War on Terror

Peter Jan Honigsberg (Author), Erwin Chemerinsky (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 334 pages
ISBN: 9780520254725
May 2009
$36.95, £29.00
Other Formats Available:
Jose Padilla short-shackled and wearing blackened goggles and earmuffs to block out all light and sound on his way to the dentist. Fifteen-year-old Omar Khadr crying out to an American soldier, "Kill me!" Hunger strikers at Guantánamo being restrained and force-fed through tubes up their nostrils. John Walker Lindh lying naked and blindfolded in a metal container, bound by his hands and feet, in the freezing Afghan winter night. This is the story of the Bush administration's response to the attacks of September 11, 2001—and of how we have been led down a path of executive abuses, human tragedies, abandonment of the Constitution, and the erosion of due process and liberty. In this vitally important book, Peter Jan Honigsberg chronicles the black hole of the American judicial system from 2001 to the present, providing an incisive analysis of exactly what we have lost over the past seven years and where we are now headed.
List of Illustrations
The Cuban Iguana and American Jurisprudence
Foreword by Erwin Chermerinsky

Part One: Manipulating the Law
Introducing the Term Enemy Combatant
Justifying Harsh Interrogations and Torture
Asserting Absolute Power as Commander-in-Chief

Part Two: Lawless Detentions in America
Yaser Hamdi, American Citizen
Jose Padilla, American Citizen
Ali Saleh Kalah Al Marri, American Resident
Preventive Detention
Part Three: Lawless Detentions in Guantanamo

I. Guantanamo and the Road to the Supreme Court, 2002-2004
Why Guantanamo?
Martin Luther King Weekend, January 2002
The Road to the Supreme Court
With a Little Help from the Cuban Iguana
A Historic Supreme Court Decision: Rasul v. Bush

II. Inhumane Treatment of Detainees at Guantanamo
Interrogation Log of a Guantanamo Detainee
FBI Report: July 29, 2004
Denial of Treatment
Suicides at the Base
Emergency Response Force
Hunger Strikers and Forced Feeding

III. The Administration under Siege, 2004-2006
Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs)
Government Interference with Attorneys
The Administration's Legal Position Falters
Detainee Treatment Act of 2005

IV. Winds of Change, 2006-2008
A Second Historic Supreme Court Decision: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
The Military Commissions Act
The Third Guantanamo Case: Boumediene v. Bush
Supreme Court Oral Arguments
A Parallel Case on Reviewing CSRT Hearings
The Return to War Crime Prosecutions: Hicks, Khadr, and Hamdan
Victory: Boumediene v. Bush

Part Four: Foreign Prisons and CIA Black Sites
The Evolution of Extraordinary Rendition
Case Study: Khalid El-Masri
Case Study: Maher Arar
Case Study: Abu Omar
Violating Human Rights Laws

Part Five: Detentions in America with Due Process
John Walker Lindh
Richard Colvin Reid
Zacarias Moussaoui
The Lackawanna Six

Addendum: Visiting Guantanamo Bay
List of Abbreviations
Peter Jan Honigsberg is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco School of Law. He visited Guantánamo in May 2007. He is author of Crossing Border Street: A Civil Rights Memoir (UC Press), among other books.
“Provides a compelling account of the human costs of the erosion of civil rights in the post-9/11 US.”—Times Higher Education
“A powerful indictment Bush's War on Terror, vivid and horrifying and hard to put down.”—Publishers Weekly
"Peter Jan Honigsberg has written a magnificent book telling the story of what has occurred since September 11, 2001, and how the Bush administration has betrayed the most basic principles of constitutional law and international human rights protections. He tells the story of Guantanamo in moving, human terms, and he also shows how it relates to the other abuses that have occurred over the last seven years."—Erwin Chemerinsky, from the foreword

"In weaving compelling human stories and a meticulously researched chronology of violations of the rule of law and human rights since 9/11, Honigsberg has written a moving and powerful narrative of how we lost our constitutional and moral compass."—Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

"National security is the last refuge of tyrants, and Peter Jan Honigsberg documents the full frontal assault on civil liberties in the United States perpetrated in the name of national security by Bush, Cheney and their partners in crime. Unlawful detention, imprisonment without trial for years on end, and outsourcing torture, are among the litany of horrors committed against the innocent. This book should be mandatory reading for all registered voters."—Kerry Kennedy, Founder of The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more