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Web Sage‘Enhanced’ decision points

Torture in law, literature and the media

Examining perspectives of the torture debate
Getting Medieval in the Renaissance: Facsimile of a Woodcut in J. Damhoudère's Praxis Rerum Criminalium, Antwerp, 1556.

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The killing of Osama bin Laden has re-opened the torture question – specifically, did the waterboarding of suspected terrorist detainees produce information leading to bin Laden's whereabouts?

To provide insight into the torture issue, SageLaw has created an online section devoted to the subject. Resources include news coverage, analysis and discussion of recent and past debates on torture. Some highlights:

•  Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s ongoing public defense of “enhanced interrogation methods” bears ironic resemblance to two literary critiques of language and torture – to be found in Franz Kafka’s short story, “In the Penal Colony,” and George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language.” Drawing on these sources, author Bruce T. Murray explores the Orwellian elements of Cheney's rhetoric and its similarities with Kafka's fictional character, "the Officer." See Murray's essay "From Orwellian to Kafkaesque."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is a staunch defender of "enhanced interrogation methods."

•  Berkeley law professor John Yoo, who gained notoriety for his so-called “torture memos” written for the Bush administration, defended his legal reasoning at a forum at Chapman University. See full Web Sage coverage of the debate here, in addition to analyses, documents and news updates.

•  In commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of their internment, a group of 20 former German POWs returned to their place of captivity during World War II at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. In striking contrast to reports of abusive treatment at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, these former fighters from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s Afrika-Korps had nothing bad to say about their captors. Clearly, times have changed. See the Web Sage article, "Treating the Enemy," which includes a conversation with the former German POWs.

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