Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 449–460 | Cite as

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

Original Research


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 



I would like to thank the three reviewers for their very helpful and constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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