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The democratic government of France in the Algerian war engaged in torture and summary execution of enemy detainees. In so doing, it generated increased opposition at home and abroad. Torture may have helped the French win the battle of Algiers, but France lost the war for Algeria. French abuses of human rights in that war also cost the French dearly in terms of loss of self respect and reputation in the world. The Bush Administration, in fighting its "war on terrorism," runs the danger of repeating much of the French experience. It has intentionally abused many detainees in many places and has failed to ensure that this abuse is limited to persons truly presenting a dire threat to the security of US democracy. It has also tried to minimize authoritative review of its interrogation policies. Whether this broad policy of abuse can be sustained, and whether it can avoid the many negatives that the French experienced, merits careful analysis.