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Interrogation and TortureIntegrating Efficacy with Law and Morality$
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Steven J. Barela, Mark Fallon, Gloria Gaggioli, and Jens David Ohlin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190097523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190097523.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 26 January 2022

Repairing the Damage from Illegal Acts of State

Repairing the Damage from Illegal Acts of State

The Costs of Failed Accountability for Torture

(p.493) 18 Repairing the Damage from Illegal Acts of State
Interrogation and Torture

Claire Finkelstein

Stephen N. Xenakis

Oxford University Press

The United States is only just beginning to grapple with the fallout from the program known as Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI), an illegal interrogation practice designed to further the United States counter-terrorism efforts against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. One of the most consequential legacies of the program stems from the way it was justified: lawyers for the Bush administration sought to legitimize the program through distorted legal doctrines, some of which remained in currency even after the RDI program was finally abandoned. The attempt to justify illegal conduct with false legal arguments, along with the failure of the subsequent administration to hold the principal architects of the program responsible, has eroded the rule of law in the United States and done permanent damage to norms of armed conflict as well as to domestic and international law. This chapter discusses the consequences of the RDI program, with particular attention paid to the impact of legal manipulations used to justify the program as well as the failure of accountability that resulted. In Part IV, this chapter addresses the question whether torture has been permanently eliminated from U.S. law, or whether the practice is likely to return. In this connection, the chapter raises concerns about the McCain-Feinstein Amendment that tied permissible interrogation methods to the Army Field Manual (AFM), which continues to authorize the psychologically and emotionally damaging techniques of sensory and sleep deprivation through Appendix M. The chapter finally discusses ways to repair the damage the RDI program and its aftermath inflicted on the rule of law.

Keywords:   interrogation, rule of law, RDI program, Appendix M, McCain-Feinstein Amendment, torture, enhanced interrogation

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