Author: Robert Pallitto

ROBERT PALLITTO is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Seton Hall University in New Jersey and a former public interest lawyer. He is co-author (with William Weaver) of Presidential Secrecy and the Law. His most recent book, Torture and State Violence in the U.S.: A Short Documentary History, will be published this fall by Johns Hopkins UP.

Torture and Historical Memory

North Americans seem to believe that torture has no history here. It happened in medieval Europe, at the command of dictators in far-off places, or as part of leftist insurgencies. For the United States, torture is anathema to our way of life, violative of our liberal-democratic commitments. From George Washington to George W. Bush, U.S. presidents have denounced torture unequivocally. Or so it was, as the story goes, before the September 11 attacks.