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The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush$
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George C Edwards III and Desmond King

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217977.001.0001

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Torture of Detainees and Presidential Prerogative Power

Torture of Detainees and Presidential Prerogative Power

(p.65) 3 Torture of Detainees and Presidential Prerogative Power
The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush

Richard M. Pious

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the president's use of prerogative powers and the treatment of detainees in the war on terror. President Bush asserted his prerogative power in interpreting and reinterpreting conventions and customary international law obligations, and in interpreting the obligations of government officials to execute faithfully statute law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and various directives. It is argued that officials at the highest levels of government made decisions based on the constitutional authority of the president (as administration lawyers defined it) that left open the probability that detainees would be subjected to inhuman treatment and torture as defined by international law. The chapter explores why the issue of the treatment of prisoners has not risen to the level of an Iran-Contra affair and what the reaction tells us about the politics of prerogative power.

Keywords:   Bush Administration, interrogation, prerogative powers, detainees, war on terror, Uniform Code of Military Justice

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