Helen Benedict has written five novels and five books of non-fiction. I recently spoke with Benedict about the unique undertaking of writing both fiction and non-fiction from the same research material.
Many religions believe in a compassionate God, and that all humans are children of God. When most of us would shudder just thinking about our child being tortured, how can we justify the brutalization of God's sons and daughters?
Almost a decade after reports of death and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody at Abu Ghraib and other sites came to light, the prosecutor appointed to look into some of these serious, criminal allegations is reportedly moving forward.
The political repercussions of using or endorsing torture are profound. As the U.S. learned -- or should have learned -- during the Abu Ghraib fallout, political trust and respect are difficult to earn and easy to lose.
I toast the bravery and sacrifice of all those who decide to put the public interest before their own, who take action rather than turn a blind eye, and who pay the consequences long after they leave the headlines.
Torture is American. How do I know? I am a reporter who for years covered allegations of prison abuse and ill treatment in domestic U.S. prisons. Nearly every technique used at Abu Ghraib had a close, recent parallel in a U.S. facility.
Bob Woodward's new book Obama's Wars reveals that the CIA maintains a 3000-strong Afghan paramilitary force that conducts cross-border operations into Pakistan. It's news in the U.S., but Afghanis have known this for long time.