“Weakness and Deceit vividly depicts the failure of U.S. policy to take human rights seriously in Central America in the 1980s. Its lessons are more relevant than ever today as policy-makers struggle to respond to crisis situations in the Middle East, and elsewhere. For three decades Bonner's relentless pursuit of the truth has set the gold standard for investigative journalists everywhere.” —Michael Posner, professor of Ethics and Finance at New York University, former
U.S. assistant secretary of state
“Thirty years ago, Raymond Bonner wrote a fundamental book about the United States and Latin America. Here it is again, a major work by a big-hearted reporter, with new and fascinating details about the tragedy of U. S. interventionism during the Cold War, and the lies we have been told.” —Alma Guillermoprieto, author of Looking for History: Dispatches From Latin America, and The Heart That Bleeds: Latin America Now
A land and culture poorly understood by analysts, politicians, and voters in the far-off United States. A regime permeated with corruption; a country in the steel grip of a few families that disdained any system which might give a voice to the millions who kept them in comfort: guarding their children, watering their lawns and putting food on their tables. A brutal and remorseless police force and army trained in America, armed with American guns, and fighting a bloody proxy war against anyone who might conceivably be an American foe—whether or not they held a gun.
This was Central America in the 1980s, at a time when El Salvador was the centerpiece of a misguided and ultimately disastrous foreign policy. It resulted in atrocities that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and destabilized a region that has not recovered to this day. At a time when the Reagan Administration’s obsession with communism overwhelmed objections to its policies, Ray Bonner took a courageous, unflinching look at just who we were supporting and what the consequences were.
Now supplemented with an epilogue drawing on newly available, once-secret documents that detail the extent of America’s involvement in assassinations, including the infamous murder of three American nuns and a lay missionary in 1980, Weakness and Deceit is a classic, riveting and ultimately tragic account of foreign policy gone terribly wrong.
After graduating from MacMurray College and Stanford Law School and serving in the U. S. Marine Corps (including a tour in Vietnam), Raymond Bonner practiced public interest law for several years before turning to journalism. He has been a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter forThe New York Times, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and has written for The New York Review of Books. He has reported from more than a hundred countries. He is the author of four books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a shared Pulitzer, and the Louis M. Lyon award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism from the Nieman Fellows at Harvard.