How the Gloves Came Off: Lawyers, Policy Makers, and Norms in the Debate on Torture

How the Gloves Came Off: Lawyers, Policy Makers, and Norms in the Debate on Torture

by Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault

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The treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, Guantánamo Bay, and far-flung CIA "black sites" after the attacks of 9/11 included cruelty that defied legal and normative prohibitions in U.S. and international law. The antitorture stance of the United States was brushed aside. Since then, the guarantee of American civil liberties and due process for POWs and detainees has grown muddled, threatening the norms that sustain modern democracies. How the Gloves Came Off considers the legal and political arguments that led to this standoff between civility and chaos and their significant consequences for the strategic interests and standing of the United States.

Unpacking the rhetoric surrounding the push for unitary executive action in wartime, How the Gloves Came Off traces the unmaking of the consensus against torture. It implicates U.S. military commanders, high-level government administrators, lawyers, and policy makers from both parties, exposing the ease with which powerful actors manipulated ambiguities to strip detainees of their humanity. By targeting the language and logic that made torture thinkable, this book shows how future decision makers can craft an effective counternarrative and set a new course for U.S. policy toward POWs and detainees. Whether leaders use their influence to reinforce a prohibition of cruelty to prisoners or continue to undermine long-standing international law will determine whether the United States retains a core component of its founding identity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231543255
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Series: Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault is a visiting assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She has worked in the defense and security sectors of the U.S. government and is the recipient of Georgetown's Dorothy Brown Award for excellence in teaching and the School of Foreign Service Faculty of the Year Award.

Table of Contents

Part I. Background
1. Introduction
2. History of POW Treatment in the United States: From the Revolutionary War to the Korean War
3. Modern POW Treatment in the United States: The Vietnam War, the Geneva Conventions, and the Pre-9/11 Era
Part II. Evolution of Norms Around POW Treatment
4. POW Treatment and Lawyers
5. POW Treatment and Policy Makers
6. POW Treatment and Interrogators
Part III. Conclusion
7. Implications and Recommendations
Appendix A: Who's Who
Appendix B: Timeline of Major Events
Appendix C: Acronyms

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How the Gloves Came Off: Lawyers, Policy Makers, and Norms in the Debate on Torture 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MontzieW More than 1 year ago
Terrorism and Irregular Warfare) by Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault is a book every American should read. This book dives into the subject of how America let torture become normal. Torture is against all of America's values yet torture became normal for a great deal of time, and maybe still going on. Why and how is addressed in this book. It is a gut-retching and face-slapping, eye-widing book book we all need to read to keep this from happening again (?), expanding...esp with the White House we have now. This White House says they want to kill all the family of terrorist too, women and children too, what kind of torture would they use if they could? This really frightens me.