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Terrorizing The Terrorists: An Essay On The Permissibility Of Torture

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the tension between human rights and combating terrorism. To appreciate the permissibility of terrorizing the terrorists, one must understand what acts constitute torture. It appears that many Americans, including a number of high ranking U.S. government officials, are unaware of the absolute, unequivocal legal, moral, and ethical prohibitions against torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of any person. The right to be free from such mistreatment is one of the most fundamental and indisputable of all human rights. As the United States carries out its global war against terrorism, the nexus of perceived national security needs, public anxiety, and the desire for retribution might generate temptations to sacrifice certain fundamental rights and freedoms. But, if respect for international norms and the rule of law are to be preserved, that temptation, especially as regards the prohibition against torture, must be vigorously resisted.

Keywords: combating terrorism; human rights; international norms; mistreatment; rule of law; terrorists; terrorizing; torture



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