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Mental Health in the War on TerrorCulture, Science, and Statecraft$
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Neil Aggarwal

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166645

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166645.001.0001

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Bioethics and the Conduct of Mental Health Professionals in the War on Terror

Bioethics and the Conduct of Mental Health Professionals in the War on Terror

(p.30) 2 Bioethics and the Conduct of Mental Health Professionals in the War on Terror
Mental Health in the War on Terror

Neil Krishan Aggarwal

Columbia University Press

This chapter raises issues concerning the alleged involvement of military medical professionals in the unjust interrogation of the Department of Defense to the psychologically distressed suspects of terrorism. In 2004, news stories on detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay detention facilities aggravated allegations that military medical professionals have been sharing the medical information of war-traumatized patients to the military officers for interrogation. These accusations raise alarms that the detainees' mental and physical ailments might be exploited by interrogators to extract information in an inhumane way. Bioethicists condemned these actions, calling for “the non-military medical community to unite in support of their military colleagues, and condemn torture and inhumane and degrading practices against detainees.” Foremost among their principles in fighting detainee abuse are respect for autonomy (respect for the decision of the autonomous person), nonmaleficence (avoidance of harm), beneficence (providing benefits), and justice (distributing benefits, risks, and costs fairly).

Keywords:   Department of Defense, medical professionals, terrorism, Bioethicists, respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice

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