Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 449–460

Why Did U.S. Healthcare Professionals Become Involved in Torture During the War on Terror?

Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11673-016-9729-x

Cite this article as:
Balfe, M. Bioethical Inquiry (2016) 13: 449. doi:10.1007/s11673-016-9729-x


This article examines why U.S. healthcare professionals became involved in “enhanced interrogation,” or torture, during the War on Terror. A number of factors are identified including a desire on the part of these professionals to defend their country and fellow citizens from future attack; having their activities approved and authorized by legitimate command structures; financial incentives; and wanting to prevent serious harm from occurring to prisoners/detainees. The factors outlined here suggest that psychosocial factors can influence health professionals’ ethical decision-making.


Doctor Deviance Torture War on terror Psychologist Healthcare professional 

Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

Personalised recommendations