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Torture, Terror, and the Inversion of Moral Principle


Adil Ahmad Haque


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Newark


New Criminal Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 613-657, 2007
Workshop: Criminal Law, Terrorism, and the State of Emergency, May 2007

Abstract:     
Extremists on both sides of the War on Terror increasingly argue that torture and the deliberate killing of noncombatants are not merely morally permitted but frequently morally required. Both factions have found unlikely allies in leading scholars whose recent work provides intellectual support for the proposed upheaval of moral thought. This article provides new interpretations of the doctrines of noncombatant immunity and double effect which escape traditional criticisms, withstand contemporary challenges, and provide moral bases for rejecting torture and terrorism with equal force. The article also shows that refusal to torture does not make one complicit in the acts one could have thereby prevented, that deontological constraints retain their conceptual coherence and moral relevance when applied to states, and that threshold deontology does not support institutionalized torture.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: war, terrorism, torture, complicity, necessity, justification, responsibility, constraints, prerogatives, consequentialism, noncombatant immunity, discrimination, distinction, double effect, intention, foresight, act, omission, Gardner, Sunstein, Vermeule, Kamm, McMahan

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Date posted: January 19, 2007 ; Last revised: August 13, 2013

Suggested Citation

Haque, Adil Ahmad, Torture, Terror, and the Inversion of Moral Principle. New Criminal Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 613-657, 2007; Workshop: Criminal Law, Terrorism, and the State of Emergency, May 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=958059

Contact Information

Adil Ahmad Haque (Contact Author)
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Newark ( email )
123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
United States
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