Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Plausible LegalityLegal Culture and Political Imperative in the Global War on Terror$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Rebecca Sanders

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190870553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190870553.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

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

Torture

Torture

Chapter:
(p.33) Chapter 3 Torture
Source:
Plausible Legality
Author(s):

Rebecca Sanders

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190870553.003.0003

Despite its universal and absolute prohibition in international human rights and humanitarian law, torture has persisted even in liberal democracies. This chapter traces how changing national security legal cultures have shaped justifications for torture in the United States, culminating in an extensive torture program in the global war on terror. A culture of exception helped legitimize slave torture, lynching, and colonial torture through much of the United States’ early history, while a culture of secrecy facilitated covert and proxy torture during the Cold War. After 9/11, American authorities operated in a culture of legal rationalization. Rather than suspend or ignore the torture prohibition, the Bush administration sought legal cover for torture. As evidenced by the torture memos, lawyers reframed practices such as waterboarding as lawful enhanced interrogation techniques. These attempts to construct the plausible legality of torture effectively immunized Americans from prosecution for grave human rights violations.

Keywords:   9/11, global war on terror, torture, Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), enhanced interrogation techniques, waterboarding, torture memos, extraordinary rendition, Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .