Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Clifford Brown




War on Terror, Gitmo, prisoners, torture, human rights, 9-11


The first chapter found that following September 11th, the Bush Administration implemented policies allowing the indefinite detainment and torture of suspected terrorists. Many detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, as well as other detention facilities, were tortured, both physically and psychologically. The second chapter concluded that the Bush Administration was incorrect in claiming that the detainees were not subject to any protections under international law. According to international law, detainees are protected by either IHL (international humanitarian law) or by international human rights law. It was found that whether or not the prisoners can be held indefinitely and tried by military courts depends on whether or not the conflict between the United States and al-Qaeda is considered an armed conflict according to IHL. This is unclear and up for interpretation. In an armed conflict, the US Military can hold the detainees until the end of the conflict and try them in military tribunals. It is unfair and puts the United States at risk if al-Qaeda can use military force but the US cannot use force back. Therefore, IHL must be adapted to include guidelines for new types of conflicts that include transnational terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda. The third chapter found that persuasive methods of interrogation were found to generally be more effective than torture. Torture was found to sometimes cause the subject to build up a resistance to cooperation and sometimes result in false information. Considering the costs of torture, including the illegality, it did not make sense to torture prisoners.