This Open Society Foundations panel discusses the new book None of Us Were Like This Before, by Joshua E.S. Phillips. Based on first-hand reports from the Middle East and Afghanistan, and years of interviewing soldiers, Phillips’s highly acclaimed book presents a compelling account of how soldiers turned to detainee abuse and torture in the early years of the “war on terror,” and the devastating psychological impacts that have followed them upon their return to the U.S.
The panel also features:
- Michael Blake, who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2003-2004 with Battalion 1-68. Since he left the Army, Blake advocates for and assists recently returned Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. He will discuss how detainee abuse affected fellow soldiers, and his outreach work to help veterans.
- Steven Xenakis, a psychiatrist and retired Brigadier General. Xenakis will discuss how witnessing and perpetrating torture damages soldiers, and the difficulties that troops face when seeking care within the military.
- Susan Burke, a lawyer representing torture victims abused at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. military bases. Burke will discuss her litigation challenging the problem of systemic impunity for detainee abuse and torture.
- Darius Rejali, professor at Reed College and the author of the award-winning book Torture and Democracy. Rejali will discuss the predicaments that American soldiers face while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and provide insights from historical and comparative cases of battlefield abuse and torture with a focus on democratic nations.
- Nancy Chang, manager of the Open Society Foundations’ National Security and Human Rights Campaign (moderator).
- Ann Beeson, executive director, Open Society Foundations U.S. Programs (introduction).