Erasing Iraq: The Human Costs of Carnage
by Michael Otterman & Richard Hil with Paul Wilson
Pluto Press 2010
For nearly two decades, the US and its allies have prosecuted war and aggression in Iraq. Erasing Iraq shows in unparalleled detail the devastating human cost.
Western governments and the mainstream media continue to ignore or play down the human costs of the war on Iraqi citizens This has allowed them to present their role as the benign guardians of Iraqi interests. The authors deconstruct this narrative by presenting a portrait of the total carnage in Iraq today as told by Iraqis and other witnesses who experienced it firsthand.
“Everything is gone,” said Iraqi in 2008 living in a crumbling apartment in East Amman, Jordan, while his pregnant wife paced nearby. Another Iraqi told his story between sobs. His youngest son was kidnapped and later killed. “I don’t own a thing and even if I owned the world,” he said,” if Iraq would become a country again, I would never return.”
Featuring in-depth interviews with Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan and from Western countries, Erasing Iraq is a comprehensive and moving account of the Iraqi people’s tragedy.
“If I could only recommend one book that provides a comprehensive overview of both the situation in Iraq today, and the decades of U.S.-backed policy it took to create this nightmare scenario, Erasing Iraq is it.” – Dahr Jamail, independent journalist, author of The Will to Resist and Beyond the Green Zone
“Unbeknownst to the U.S. media of course the bulk of the cost of a war is born by the nation where the war is fought. On the question of what has been done to Iraq I recommend Michael Otterman’s book ‘Erasing Iraq: The Human Costs of Carnage.'” – David Swanson, author of When the World Outlawed War, War Is A Lie and Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union
“Compulsory reading of Erasing Iraq – a thorough investigation of all aspects of its suffering, published by Pluto Press with the help of Australia’s Plumbing Trades Employee Union – just might give governments and their media claqueurs pause before we bloody our hands again.” – Sara Dowse, artist and author of six novels, including West Block, Silver City, and Schemetime
“[Erasing Iraq] is the first that gives the victims of occupation a voice and documents the war crimes, the crimes against humanity and other atrocities, which have been perpetrated upon the Iraqi people by the Western quest for hegemony and domination. In the presence of this disaster the book leave the reader with two justified conclusions: Immediate withdrawal and massive financial compensations. For these war crimes, the perpetrators have to be brought to the International Court of Justice.” – Ludwig Watzal, Media With Conscience News
“[Erasing Iraq] a poignant story of unheard voices of refugees, surviving Iraqis, and non-Iraqi eyewitnesses who continue to ‘wonder why many innocent endlessly suffer needlessly.'” – The Mindanao Examiner (Philippines)
American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and Beyond
by Michael Otterman
Pluto Press/Melbourne University Publishing 2007
George W. Bush called them an ‘alternative set of procedures’: forcing victims to stand for forty hours, depriving them of sleep for weeks on end, dousing naked prisoners with ice water in rooms chilled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and strapping them to inclined boards then flooding their mouths with water. These techniques are torture and have been used by the United States of America for decades.
In American Torture, Michael Otterman reveals the deep history of US torture and shows how these procedures became standard practice in the Bush Administration’s ‘war on terror.’ Initially, the US military and CIA learned these methods from their enemies: the Nazis, Russians and Chinese. During the Cold War, billions of dollars were spent studying, refining, codifying then employing these techniques at military Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) schools and in interrogations in Vietnam, Latin America and elsewhere. As the Cold War ended, these tortures — engineered to leave deep psychological wounds but few physical scars — were ostensibly legalized using the very laws designed to eradicate their use. After 9/11, the Bush Administration turned to Department of Justice lawyers to formally permit use of these tortures and to SERE school psychologists and trainers to teach interrogators in Guantanamo, secret black sites, Afghanistan and Iraq the torture methods once used by America’s enemies.
Michael Otterman shows that these interrogation methods violate more than international law and fundamental human rights. They radicalize enemies, undermine credibility and yield unreliable intelligence. They make America less safe.
“Michael Otterman’s powerful book… should be compulsory reading for everyone with concerns over human rights.” Rod Barton, Former Director of Intelligence (Australia), Weapons Inspector and Advisor to the CIA (Iraq).
“AMERICAN TORTURE is a hard-hitting survey revealing how torture became a standard practice in the War on Terror, how it was honed and legalized and how the US military and CIA had used torture before both at home and abroad… A ‘must’ for any college-level collection strong in ethics or social issues.” – The Midwest Book Review
“Most impressively, Otterman tackles the legal machinations of the [Bush] administration. How is it legal to shock a man’s genitals and explain that his wife is being raped as punishment for his “crime?” How is this behavior consistent with such inconvenient international realities as the War Crimes Act, the Geneva Conventions, and the International Criminal Court? With the right lawyers, anything is legal. – The Texas Observer
“Otterman writes as a patriot – one who expects much of his country and is angry when it fails him.” – The Age (Melbourne)
“Michael Otterman’s book makes you think long and hard not only about human nature, but also about what the long haul of civilisation has brought us. The irony is that one of modern history’s outstanding democracies is peeling back those achievements like the skin of an orange. Fortunately, many decent Americans are fighting back.” – Sydney Morning Herald