In the Minotaur's Labyrinth: Psychological Torture, Public Forgetting, and Contested History

Alfred W. Mccoy

in Speaking about Torture

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242245
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242283 | DOI:
In the Minotaur's Labyrinth: Psychological Torture, Public Forgetting, and Contested History

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Despite dozens of official inquiries in the years since the Abu Ghraib photos first exposed abuse in April 2004, the torture scandal has continued to spread like a virus, infecting all who touch it. Through every sordid incident in this process of impunity--Dick Cheney’s unapologetic claims of torture’s efficacy and President Obama’s halting retreat from promises to end the abuse--Washington is returning step-by-step to a contradictory policy that made torture America’s secret weapon throughout the Cold War. After tracing a short history of psychological torture, of the adoption of torture during the “war on terror,” and of torture advocacy by professors, pundits, and psychologists, the chapter proposes an analysis of impunity that frames recent revelations about the U.S. use of diplomatic pressure to effect impunity on a global scale, as well as the evasion of responsibility for continuing torture operations by outsourcing the work to Iraqi and Afghani authorities.

Keywords: CIA; George W. Bush; Abu Ghraib; Guantánamo Bay Prison Camp; Barack Obama; Phoenix Program; Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps; Army Field Manual; Uniform Code of Military Justice; Military Commissions Act

Chapter.  9125 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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