After September 11, 2001 the Bush Administration decided that the most important intelligence about terrorism would come from the interrogation of captives suspected of terrorism. As a result, many detainees were subject to harsh interrogation techniques that at times amounted to torture. Here, James P. Pfiffner authoritatively examines the policy directives, operational decisions, and leadership actions of the Bush Administration that reversed centuries of US policy on the treatment of enemy prisoners. He shows how the serious reservations of career military lawyers about these policies were overcome by the political appointees of the Bush Administration. Pfiffner then analyses the philosophical and legal underpinnings of the policies and practices that have led to the denunciation of the United States' policies by its allies and adversaries throughout the world. Looking ahead, Pfiffner anticipates Obama administration policy changes to restore U.S. credibility and accountability. In all, Torture as Public Policy is a model of detailed policy analysis that demonstrates how greatly public policy matters beyond the back corridors of bureaucracy.
James P. Pfiffner is University Professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. His major areas of expertise are the Presidency, American National Government, and public management. He has written or edited twelve books on the presidency, including Power Play: The Bush Administration and the Constitution (2008), and he has published more than 100 articles and chapters in books, professional journals, reference works, and the popular press. While serving with the 25th Infantry Division (1/8 Artillery) in 1970 he received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor in Vietnam and Cambodia. His professional experience includes service in the Director's Office of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (1980-81), and he has been a member of the faculty at the University of California-Riverside and California State University-Fullerton. In 2007 he was S.T. Lee Professorial fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of London.