The Ethics of Interrogation
Professional Responsibility in an Age of Terror
Publication Year: 2013
Can harsh interrogation techniques and torture ever be morally justified for a nation at war or under the threat of imminent attack? In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist strikes, the United States and other liberal democracies were forced to grapple once again with the issue of balancing national security concerns against the protection of individual civil and political rights. This question was particularly poignant when US forces took prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq who arguably had information about additional attacks. In this volume, ethicist Paul Lauritzen takes on ethical debates about counterterrorism techniques that are increasingly central to US foreign policy and discusses the ramifications for the future of interrogation.
Lauritzen examines how doctors, lawyers, psychologists, military officers, and other professionals addressed the issue of the appropriate limits in interrogating detainees. In the case of each of these professions, a vigorous debate ensued about whether the interrogation policy developed by the Bush administration violated codes of ethics governing professional practice. These codes are critical, according to Lauritzen, because they provide resources for democracies and professionals seeking to balance concerns about safety with civil liberties, while also shaping the character of those within these professional guilds.
This volume argues that some of the techniques used at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere were morally impermissible; nevertheless, the healthy debates that raged among professionals provide hope that we may safeguard human rights and the rule of law more effectively in the future.
Published by: Georgetown University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book was initially conceived as a project for the Brady Program in Ethics and Civic Life at Northwestern University. I am deeply indebted to the Brady Program and its director, Laurie Zoloth, for the invita-tion to spend a year at Northwestern working with the students in the Brady Program and conducting research for this volume. I found the ...
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The ethical inheritance of American democracy consists, first of all, in a way of thinking and talking about ethical topics that is implicit in the behavior of ordinary people. Secondly, it also consists in the activity of intellectuals who attempt to make sense of that way of A society entrusts professionals organizationally to pass judgment ...
Chapter One: If You Can’t Oppose Torture, What Can You Oppose? Psychologists Confront Coercive Interrogations
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Professional societies may indeed have narrow agendas in publish-ing their ethics. . . . Nonetheless, the public statement of a profes-sion’s ethics serves a far wider purpose than mere regulation of its membership. Such public statements establish a voice in the com-munity, provide unification of purpose, recruit community support, ...
Chapter Two: What’s Wrong with Supporting National Security? Psychology and the Pursuit of National Security
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...theory of democratic professionalism . . . holds that a number of key professions have civic roles to play in contemporary democracy and that such civic roles both strengthen the legitimacy of profes-sional authority and render that authority more transparent and We saw in chapter 1 what a commitment to democratic deliberation ...
Chapter Three: Interrogating Justice: The Torture Memos and the Office of Legal Counsel
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Torture is rarely solo work. It is a systematic practice, institutional-ized by nations and states, supported hierarchically, and requiring In the first two chapters, we saw how professionals in the field of psy-chology became involved in interrogations of detainees in the war on terror that arguably amounted to torture. Some psychologists fa-...
Chapter Four: Ticking Bombs and Dirty Hands: Coercive Interrogation and the Rule of Law
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Coerced confessions offend the community’s sense of fair play and decency. So here [in this case], to sanction the brutal conduct which interrogations must be kept “illegal,” but nonetheless permitted in One of the striking claims Alberto Mora makes in his “Statement for the Record” memorandum is that, while he is uncertain about the mo-...
Chapter Five: Treating Terrorists: The Conflicting Pull of Role Responsibility
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...violated without the active cooperation, or at least acquiescence, of lawyers and physicians, including military lawyers and physicians.It is in the nature of torture that the two ubiquitously present [pro-fessions] should be medicine and law, health and justice, for they are We saw in the last chapter how tightly legal analysis of coercive inter-...
Chapter Six: Discipline and Punish: The Importance of Professional Accountability
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The foundation on which the analysis of a profession must be based is its relationship to the ultimate source of power and authority in If the argument in the previous chapter is correct, the efforts of those who resisted the participation of psychologists, lawyers, and doctors in abusive interrogations were an attempt, in Eliot Freidson’s words, to ...
Chapter Seven: Professional Responsibility and the Virtuous Professional
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To say that an agent has a regulative ideal is to say that they have in-ternalised a certain conception of correctness or excellence, in such a way that they are able to adjust their motivation and conduct so that it conforms—or at least does not conflict—with that standard.Thus far we have examined how codes of ethics and professional re-...
Chapter Eight: The Day They Enter Active Service: The Military Conscience
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All Armies are expressions of the societies from which they arise. The purposes for which armies fight and the ways in which they do so reflect the values of the societies which send them to war in the To some extent, the officer’s behavior toward the state is guided by an explicit code expressed in law and comparable to the canons ...
Chapter Nine: Lessons Learned: Dignity and the Rule of Law
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How we interrogate “post-9/11” detainees is the fundamental ques-tion in balancing the inherent tension of national security consider-ations against individual civil and political rights. More significantly, the interrogation measures we adopt define who we are as a society.—Amos Guiora, Constitutional Limits on Coercive Interrogation, ix...
Chapter Ten: This We Do Not Do: The Future of Interrogation and the Ethics of Professional Responsibility
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I believe there should be a thoughtful debate about what is neces-I write this concluding chapter of The Ethics of Interrogation a little over ten and a half years after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Two items in the news suggest both why debates about counterterrorism practices are not likely to go away and how we might frame the national discus-...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013