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American Torture: The Price Paid, the Lessons Learned

Abstract

(Lisa Hajjar is chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an editor of *Middle East Report*.) Starting with the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos in April 2004,[1]there has been a steady cascade of revelations about the Bush administration's brutal and dehumanizing interrogation and detention policies. These days, the last refuge for die-hard deniers is the euphemization that "enhanced interrogation" is not "torture." The current fault line in the public debate is not whether America tortured but whether it "worked." Although some important details and documents remain classified, and the first official efforts to systematically study the relationship among the motivations, methods and fruits of interrogation have just begun, there is enough information available to draw some lessons from the US torture policy.

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