The systemic analysis of the establishment of torture as foreign policy measure in modern democratic institutions with special reference to the use of torture during the “War on Terror”

Hough, Gys (2010-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Political Science))--University 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation’s primary focus is why torture is used when torture is not an effective means of gathering intelligence. To answer this question the argument for the use of torture, commonly known as the ticking time bomb argument, is discussed. Due to psychological and physiological processes during torture interrogation it was found that torture cannot be relied upon to deliver truthful information. Torture was also found to adversely affect the institutions that are needed for its establishment. After torture has been found to be of no utility in terms of the appropriation of information the question of why torture is still used is answered by means of discussing societal dynamics as well as the political process surrounding torture. On the societal front it was found that American public opinion towards torture is ambivalent. The reason for this includes a host of socio-psychological factors such as the in-group out-group bias as well the War on Terror as a political ideology in its own right. The notion that anybody is likely to torture is also explored by means of discussing the Milgram’s Obedience Experiment as well as the Stanford Prison Experiment. On the political front the notion that the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay were the work of a few bad apples is dispelled since it formed part of a deliberative political process that tried to make torture a legitimate foreign policy measure. The reason for the existence of this process is the failure of international and domestic checks and balances. On the international front U.S. unilateralism as foreign policy principle is cited as the reason for the ineffectiveness of international measures to stop torture. On the domestic front the permanent rally around the flag effect due to the permanent state of mobilization in the War on Terror is cited as the reason for the failure of domestic checks and balances. The lessons learnt from the research enables the creation of measures on how to stop torture even when it is found that the necessary political will is not present within the Obama administration. In the absence of political will it must be manufactured by means of the actions of civil society, the free press and the international community. It was found that the most effective means would be the creation of a committee of inquiry to create the political memory of the use of torture and how it was established. Additionally a memorial must be erected as well seeing that inquiries create political memories but they do not sustain it.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis se fokus is om na te vors waarom marteling gebruik word as dit nie ‘n effektiewe wyse is om inligting in te win nie. Om hierdie vraagstuk te beantwoord word die argument vir die gebruik van marteling naamlik die tikkende-tydbom-argument bespreek. Asgevolg van sielkundige en fisiologiese prosesse tydens ondervragings wat gebruik maak van marteling kan daar nie op marteling staatgemaak word om die waarheid op te lewer nie. Dit was ook bevind dat marteling die instansies, wat nodig is vir die gebruik daarvan, op ‘n negatiewe wyse beïnvloed. Nadat daar vasgestel is dat marteling geen nutswaarde aangaande die inwinning van informasie bied nie word die vraagstuk waarom marteling steeds gebruik word beantwoord. Op die samelewingsvlak kan daar gestel word dat die Amerikaanse samelewing onseker is oor of marteling gebruik moet word al dan nie. Verskeie redes vir hierdie opinie word aangevoer waarvan die in-group out-group bias en die Oorlog teen Terreur as politieke ideologie slegs twee daarvan uitmaak. Dat enige persoon in staat is tot marteling onder die regte stel omstandighede word ook bespreek na aanleiding van die Milgram’s Obedience Experiement en die Stanford Prison Experiment. Op die politiese vlak is daar vasgestel dat die menseregteskendings in Abu Ghraib en Guantanamo Bay nie die werk was van slegs `n paar indiwidue was nie, maar deel uitmaak van ‘n doelbewuste politiese proses wat marteling as ‘n legitieme buitelandse beleidskwessie wil afmaak. Die rede waarom die beleidsproses bestaan kan toegeskryf word aan die mislukking van inter- en intranasionale wigte en teenwigte. Op die internasionale vlak kan daar gestel word dat die Verenigde State se unilateralistiese modus operandi die rede is vir die mislukking van internasionale maatreëls teen marteling. Op die intranasionale front kan daar gestel word dat die Amerikaanse publiek verkeer in ‘n permanent rally around the flagtoestand asgevolg van die permanent mobilisasie in die Oorlog teen Terreur. Uit die lesse wat geleer is uit die navorsing kan daadwerklike stappe gedoen word om die gebruik van marteling stop te sit alhoewel die Obama-administrasie se politiese wil ontbreek. Met die tekort aan politiese wil moet die politiese wil geskep word deur die burgerlik samelewing, the vrye pers asook die internasionale gemeenskap. Daar was gevind dat die mees effektiewe wyse om marteling stop te sit sal deurmiddel van ‘n kommissie van ondersoek wees. Die kommissie se doel sal wees om te bepaal hoe marteling tot stand gekom het en ‘n politiese herinnering te skep. Daar moet ook ‘n bykomende maatreël wees, naamlik die oprigting van ‘n monument aangesien kommissies van ondersoek politiese herinneringe skep maar nie in stand hou nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4284
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