Murder at Camp Delta
A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth about Guantanamo Bay
Simon & Schuster, New York, 2016, 256 pages
Book Review published on: March 10, 2017
Joseph Hickman's compelling book Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant's Pursuit of the Truth about Guantanamo Bay is a riveting firsthand account of a lifelong soldier who, while in the throes of deployment, is cast into a moral dilemma that will change his life. Hickman's personal story is his first publication and is remarkably written. The author builds his case throughout the book: the government used the Guantanamo detention facility as an experimentation lab for interrogations.
Hickman claims to have discovered a special access program inside the government that allows for the unusual manner in which the detention facility operated. Hickman, a former Marine, is serving in the National Guard where sergeants are typically a little older with more experience. His break in service accounts for his detention facility experience outside the military; this proves invaluable in the ethical dilemma posed before him at Guantanamo. The story follows him through his train up and deployment. The conditions and experiences that Hickman describes are indeed troublesome to contemplate. Upon redeployment, he describes how he comes to terms with the decision to tell his story. From there, the book is Hickman's journey of telling his story and the discovery of truth. Government agencies stalled him at every turn while he tried to do the right thing.
His story is an excellent opportunity for a multitude of professionals to use as a case study in ethics, moral decision making, and resiliency just to name a few. Telling his story is an attempt to hold the U.S. government accountable for their actions in Guantanamo. Hickman takes the moral high ground by writing the book.
Hickman discusses the research work done by the Seton Hall legal students but does not actually provide any of the references to these documents or any of the documents he personally researched in support of writing the second half of the book. A reference section would have provided a more complete and compelling argument for academic professionals to use in an educational setting. A quick Internet search provided a multitude of Seton Hall papers written about the subject, which would have made an easy addition to the book and made it more complete.
His altruistic values gave me the impression of a naive soldier, and this led me to be weary of his story. He was repetitive in his descriptions of some of these events and seemed overly cautious in telling his story. I believe this is due to the amount of resistance he received while trying to do the right thing by telling his story and discovering the truth. Hickman builds a good case for his thesis and ultimately does a good job informing the public and telling his story about how Guantanamo was used as a research facility.
Book Review written by: Lt. Col. Joe M. Schotzko, U.S. Army, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas