Torture and Public Policy

1586 Words Sep 20th, 2012 7 Pages
Torture and Public Policy
Kevin Huckabee
Stephen F. Austin State University

Prepared for: PBA-500 Survey of Public Administration

The subsequent case study, prepared by James P. Pfiffner, Torture and Public Policy, (2010) analyzes the torture and abuse of war prisoners by United States military personnel in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following photographs of the abuse spread around the world in the fall of 2003. Pfiffner points out that the United States Military, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfield, and President George W. Bush assumed a role in the events leading up to the exploitation, even though it has never been corroborated that President Bush or Secretary of State Rumsfield directly condoned the abuse.
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Lieutenant General Anthony R. Jones investigated the possible involvement of personnel higher in the chain of command (Jones 2005). Lieutenant General Jones concluded that abuse ranged from inadequate resources, confusion about allowable interrogation techniques, conflicting “policy memoranda,” to “leadership failure.” Lieutenant General Jones also noted that “leadership failure, at the brigade level and below, clearly was a factor in not sooner discovering and taking actions to prevent” the abuses. Torture was considered to be somewhat justified in such incidents known as the ticking time bomb scenario. For there to be a justification for the necessity of torture to protect lives there must be six key items present: 1) There must be a planned attack. 2) The captive must know about the planned attack. 3) Torture must be the only way to obtain the information. 4) The captive must be persuaded to provide the information. 5) The information must be accurate. 6) If the information is obtained, there must be time and means to prevent the attack. The ticking time bomb scenario did not pertain to Abu Ghraib, since the detainees were merely Iraqi delinquents who did not have knowledge of future planned attacks on the United States by al Qaeda. The Geneva Convention and its participants keep all prisoners of war on a uniformed playing field, to prevent

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