Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics


Physician Involvement in Hostile Interrogations

a1 Department of Philosophy at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo

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allhoff f   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Military conflicts inevitably lead to the detention and interrogation of adversaries (or perceived adversaries), and American military action in Afghanistan and Iraq has resulted in the protracted and scrutinized detention and interrogation of varied personnel. Detention and interrogation, in turn, inevitably lead to moral and legal questions, and these questions have been especially poignant during and following the aforementioned campaigns. Controversially, the Bush administration did not afford Geneva Convention protections to so-called enemy combatants; these protections would have increased the standard of care (e.g., legally, medically) afforded to detainees and would have limited the interrogation options available to military personnel. Also controversially, reports have alleged that military interrogators have practiced “stress and duress” tactics that include “sleep management” (i.e., sleep deprivation), “dietary manipulation” (i.e., food withholding), “environmental manipulation” (e.g., exposure to extreme temperatures, presence of dogs), forced maintenance of uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time, isolation (sometimes for longer than 30 days), hooding, and so forth. a


a I thank the following people for their helpful discussions and feedback on the ideas in this paper: Jean Maria Arrigo, William Casebeer, Michael Davis, Jan Goldman, Michael Gross, David Guinn, Kenneth Kipnis, Justin List, Jonathan Marks, Albert Pierce, Michael Pritchard, Len Rubenstein, Allen Weiner, Matthew Wynia, John Yoo, Daniel Zupan, and two anonymous reviewers. Their correspondences should obviously not be taken to imply that any of them agrees with my conclusions. This paper was presented at The Australian National University and at the 2005 meeting of the Australasian Association of Philosophy; I thank those present for their comments, especially Dirk Baltzly, Jeanette Kennett, and Thomas Pogge.