The Politics of Torture

Hardcover | August 15, 2011

byTracy Lightcap

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Why did it happen? Why did the United States begin to torture detainees during the War on Terror? Instead of an indictment, this book presents an explanation. Crises produce rare opportunities for overcoming the domestic and foreign policy logjams facing political leaders. But what if the projects used to address the crisis and provide cover for their domestic policy initiatives come under serious threat from clandestine opponents? Then the restraints on interrogation can be overwhelmed, leading to the creation of informal institutions that allow the official establishment of torture. These ideas are tested using comparative historical narratives drawn from two cases where torture was adopted--the War on Terror and the Stalinist Terror--and one where it was not--the Mexican War. The book concludes with some thoughts about how the United States can avoid the legal establishment of torture in the future.

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Why did it happen? Why did the United States begin to torture detainees during the War on Terror? Instead of an indictment, this book presents an explanation. Crises produce rare opportunities for overcoming the domestic and foreign policy logjams facing political leaders. But what if the projects used to address the crisis and provide...

Tracy Lightcap is a professor of Political Science and chair of the Department of Political Science at LaGrange College. He has published articles on torture and interrogation policy, judicial politics and administration, comparative judicial politics, and on judicial decision-making.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.66 × 5.68 × 0.72 inPublished:August 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023011377X

ISBN - 13:9780230113770

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Table of Contents

Introduction * Questions, Designs, and Mechanisms * Crisis and Opportunity in the United States and the Soviet Union * Torture: From Informal Institution to Official Policy * The Mechanism Fails: The United States and the Mexican War * Torture and Leadership Projects * Conclusions

Editorial Reviews

"Tracy Lightcap’s analysis of comparative case studies of interrogation policy is a sophisticated work of scholarship, which is well written, well organized, and carefully sourced. His use of the framework of political time provides valuable analytical leverage in understanding the use of interrogation policy in different political regimes and in different historical eras."--James P. Pfiffner, George Mason University and author of Torture as Public Policy