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How torture became normal.


It's important to look not just at the policy-makers, but at the lawyers - who at every step along the way are providing for the policy-makers the window of opportunity, or what is possible. And the lawyers could have - and should have - said 'this is against domestic law, this is against international law.' And time and time again they didn't. They offered interpretations of the law that were unprecedented.

Security analyst Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault explains how US politicians and lawyers advanced the policies of torture in the years after 9/11 - as an ideological rejection of international law, and an advancement of executive authority - turning torture into an issue for partisans to debate in the media, and a spectacle for citizens to consume in popular culture. 

Elizabeth is author of How the Gloves Came Off: Lawyers, Policy Makers, and Norms in the Debate on Torture from Columbia University Press.

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Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault

Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault is a visiting assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.


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