War on Terror and Human Essay

Pages: 4 (1468 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Among the techniques that were spelled out in the memo were, in hindsight, clearly indications of human rights violations. For example, one memo outlined approved tactics to use against suspected terrorists: "walling… a facial hold, a facial slap, cramped confinement… and the waterboard" (MacAskill, p. 1).

The waterboarding form of torture was described in detail in one of Bush's memos: "the individual is bound securely to an inclined bench, which is approximately four feet by seven feet. The individual's feet are generally elevated. A cloth is placed over the forehead and eyes. Water is then applied to the cloth in a controlled manner… produces the perception of 'suffocation and incipient panic'…" (MacAskill, p. 2).

As for Yoo, he believed that "…the candid approach would be to admit that our old laws and policies did not address this new enemy [al-Qaeda]…" and in fact Yoo's boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, wrote that the president should declare "…the Taliban and al Qaeda outside the coverage of the Geneva Conventions" (Scharf, 2009, p. 343). It was (and is) a federal crime in the United States (based on the War Crimes Act of 1996) to cause "…a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions" (Scharf, 343). But thanks to Yoo and other legal staff in the Bush Administration, they simply wrote that we can do what we want because we have determined that the Geneva Conventions (against violating human rights) is null and void now that terrorists have attacked America.

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Essay on War on Terror & Human Assignment

Following the release of some secret documents it became clear that U.S. military personnel (whether on their own or with instructions from top brass) were torturing "…terrorist suspects at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, and the detention facilities at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba" (Van Bergen, et al., 2006, p. 453). Indeed, suspicions that torture was being done to detainees were "…subsequently borne out, that U.S. soldiers and CIA officers were routinely torturing terrorist suspects at numerous detention centers around the world," Van Bergen explains (453). The photos that were posted in the Internet of American soldiers' torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib set off a firestorm of protest and outrage.

And one of the most shocking aspects of the Abu Ghraib torture was that female soldiers were participants in the torture of Iraqi prisoners. The photos show "…service-women grinning, posing, or giving the thumbs-up sign beside the tormented male prisoners" (Titunik, 2009, p. 258). In one particular photo Private First Class Lynndie England holds a leash "…at the end of which a prostrate prisoner languishes"; and in another "…particularly notorious photo, England, with a cigarette dangling from her mouth, points to the genitals of a naked, hooded prisoner forced to simulate masturbation" (Titunik, 260).

In conclusion, it is clear from the literature that the U.S. is not the only country that has violated human rights during times of war. In WWII the abuse of human rights was hideously brutal. And in the Vietnam War, Americans put detainees into terribly cruel camps where torture was carrier out. War is indeed hell, and mere mortals can be unbelievably cruel to one another. But the focus of this article was placed on America and how it conducted strategies that seriously violated human rights as part of its "war on terror." And by surveying the flimsy quasi-legal justifications the Bush Administration used for violating American laws and international laws banning torture and other human rights violations, a researcher can deduce that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 opened the door for criminal activities conducted by highly place officials who are in reality supposed to enforce laws, not break laws.

Works Cited

Alexander, Janet Cooper. (2012). John Yoo's War Powers: The Law Review and the World.

California Law Review, 100(2), 331-364.

MacAskill, Ewen. (2009). Obama releases Bush torture memos. The Guardian. Retrieved August

28, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk.

Russomanno, Joseph. (2011). Tortured Logic: A Verbatim Critique of the George W. Bush

Presidency. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, Inc..

Scharf, Michael P. (2009). International Law and the Torture Memos. Case Western Reserve

Journal of International Law, 42(1/2), 321-358.

Titunik, Regina F. (2009). Are we all torturers now? A reconsideration of women's violence at Abu Ghraib. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22(2), 257-277.

Van Bergen, Jennifer, and Valentine, Douglas. (2006). The Dangerous World of Indefinite… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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