The Evolution of Warfare, the Laws of War, and the Ethical Implications of U.S. Detainee Policy in the Global War on Terror and Beyond
Sheie, Marc A.
Lober, George W.
Robinson, Glenn E.
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The atrocities committed by Americans at Abu Ghraib shocked the collective American moral conscience. Guilty of inhumane treatment of its prisoners there, Abu Ghraib did immeasurable damage to U.S. credibility and made clear that American detainee policy is off-track and needs to comply with objective standards of law, morality, and operational effectiveness. The emotional aftermath of 9/11 created a politically permissive environment within which the military organizational structures was unsuited for the critical tasks assigned to them relative to the context of the Bush Administration’s “new paradigm.” Two issues sit at the forefront of the political context of U.S. detainee policy: war powers and human rights. This thesis will utilize a synthesized decision-making model to analyze the President’s decisions leading to the current detainee policy. Policy alternatives require smaller corrections to bureaucratic process, not a major reorganization of bureaucratic structure. This thesis will provide policy-makers with a moral and legal framework for a corrected detainee policy. Adoption of the full framework of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including U.S. ratification of Additional Protocols I and II (1977), provides the best framework to combat transnational insurgency, while retaining the moral and legal high ground required of the world’s superpower.
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