File_6_May_12_Schultz_on_The_Torturer - The Torturer's...

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The Torturer's Apprentice Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age By William F. Schulz This article appeared in the May 13, 2002 edition of The Nation . Alan Dershowitz prides himself on his credentials as a civil libertarian, and to judge by most of the essays in his latest book, Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age , he has good reason to do so. The Harvard law professor has built a considerable reputation on his defense of free speech, due process and the separation of church and state, to say nothing of his propensity for controversial clients and clamorous talk shows. Shouting Fire is a pastiche of fifty-four essays, some of them new, most of them not, the earliest dating from 1963. The impetus for the collection appears to be at least in part a desire to reassert the importance of civil liberties, even in the face of such national security threats as those posed by the events of September 11 and their aftermath. Moreover, Dershowitz admirably offers what rights advocates rarely do: a philosophical grounding for civil and political rights beyond the mere positivist assertion that "that's the law." If this were all Dershowitz had done in Shouting Fire , the book might have received its share of kind reviews and headed off to Remainderland. But in less than two of the book's 550 pages, he manages to guarantee the collection a longer shelf life. For in an addendum to a 1989 article in the Israel Law Review , Alan Dershowitz, civil libertarian, champion of progressive causes, counsel to human-rights hero Anatoly Shcharansky, makes a case for torture or, more exactly, for the creation of a new legal device that he dubs a "torture warrant." And then, through a deft combination of newspaper editorials, public appearances and an extended interview on 60 Minutes , Dershowitz has expanded upon that proposition in a way designed to make talk of torture routine and, not incidentally, banter about his book robust. Dershowitz's proposal, therefore, deserves careful scrutiny, not only because it comes from a respected voice but also because sources in the FBI have floated the possibility that torture will be applied against prisoners or detainees who refuse to tell what they
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2012 for the course POLS 4909 taught by Professor Bazowski during the Winter '09 term at York University.

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File_6_May_12_Schultz_on_The_Torturer - The Torturer's...

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