SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 10.1

Gross, O. (2007). Torture and an ethics of responsibility. Law, Culture and the Humanities3(1), 35-54.

May torture ever be morally or legally justified or excused? This article argues that an absolute legal ban on torture ought to be maintained. However, in truly catastrophic cases the appropriate method of tackling extremely grave national dangers and threats may call for going outside the legal order. The way to deal with the “extreme” or “catastrophic” case is neither by ignoring it nor by using it as the center-piece for establishing general, ex ante, policies. Rather, the focus is on the possibility that truly exceptional cases may give rise to official disobedience: Public officials may act extra legally and be ready to accept the legal ramifications of their actions.

Article 10.2

Bellamy, A. J. (2005). Is the war on terror just? International Relations19(3), 275-296.

This article explores the question of whether the war on terror is just. It begins by arguing that the Just War tradition offers a better way of asking moral questions about war than either pacifism or realism. Applying the Just War tradition suggests that in order to justify a war on terrorism, we need to know exactly who the terrorists are and whether they have given us just cause for war. The war on terror as conceived by the Bush administration does not satisfy these tests because it threatens to wage war on those who have done no wrong and constitutes a disproportionate response. Whilst the war on terror may be unjust, war against specific terrorists may certainly be justifiable. The final part of the article explores some of the jus in bello elements of the war on terror and raises grave concerns about the way that the United States and its allies are conducting the war.

Article 10.3

Crelinsten, R. D. (2003). The world of torture: A constructed reality. Theoretical Criminology7(3), 293-318.

This article argues that torture is made possible, despite almost universal condemnation in legal codes, by the construction of a closed world that permits the use of torture against specific members of society defined as enemies. The article examines how a torture-sustaining reality is constructed (causes), how it is maintained and institutionalized (consequences), how it can be dismantled or deconstructed (cures) and, ultimately, how it can be prevented from forming in the first place (prevention, early warning). For each phase, the article looks at those variables that are most pertinent for three types of actors: perpetrators, victims and bystanders. It also examines those variables that operate primarily at the domestic level and those that operate at the international level.

Article 10.4

Johnson, D., Brazier, D., Forrest, K., Ketelhut, C., Mason, D., & Mitchell, M. (2011). Attitudes toward the use of racial/ethnic profiling to prevent crime and terrorism. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 22(4), 422–447.

Research indicates that public approval for the use of racial/ethnic profiling to prevent crime is low. In contrast, recent research and polling data suggest the public is more supportive of the use of racial/ethnic profiling to prevent terrorism. Using a survey-based experiment that varies the context for the use of racial/ethnic profiling (to prevent crime or to prevent terrorism), this study examines whether public approval for the use of racial/ethnic profiling by law enforcement officers differs across context. In addition, multivariate analyses examine whether the factors that are associated with support for the use of profiling, including race of respondent, salience of crime and terrorism, perceived racial bias in the justice system, and racial stereotyping, vary across context.

Article 10.5

Daxecker, U. (2017). Dirty hands: Government torture and terrorism. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(6), 1261–1289.

Existing research suggests that the use of harsh repression can exacerbate the incidence and duration of terrorism. Micro- and macro-level analyses have shown that coercive government responses to terrorism can radicalize sympathizers, increase recruitment, and undermine community support for counterterrorism policies, leading to backlash and increased terrorist activity. Focusing on torture techniques, this article aims to establish mechanisms implicit in the backlash hypothesis. These arguments imply that information about government transgressions is available to potential group sympathizers, but have not examined whether and how variation in the visibility of different torture techniques affects the likelihood of backlash. Scarring torture, a technique that is both more visible and less plausibly deniable than other forms of torture, is expected to produce higher volumes of terrorism. Using disaggregated data on allegations of torture from the Ill-Treatment and Torture project for 1995 to 2005, the analysis shows that scarring torture is consistently associated with increases in terrorism, whereas stealth torture has no statistically discernable effect on terrorism.