Does torture work?


Photo of hands in handcuffs

Well, you’ll have to read John W. Schiemann’s book to find out.

In his 2015 publication, Does Torture Work?, Schiemann ‘examines whether interrogational torture is effective in obtaining valuable information and at what cost in terms of torture’s brutality and frequency’ (taken from abstract).

According to the abstract, the book ‘draws on historical accounts, previously secret CIA documents in the war on terrorism, and the proposals advanced by torture proponents to build a game theoretic model of interrogational torture’.

‘Illustrating the model outcomes with narratives from Pinochet’s Chile to Algeria to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda operatives at CIA black sites, the book compares the results of the model with proponent benchmarks on information reliability, torture frequency, and torture severity’.

In his book, Schiemann shows that ‘interrogational torture fails to reliably generate valuable information but will be both more frequent and more brutal than proponents expect and are willing to accept. Having shown that interrogational torture is ineffective, the book then demonstrates just why and how it fails’.

You can read this book online via the Oxford Scholarship Online: Political Science database.

The database contains the full text and abstracts of classic and newly published Oxford books in the areas of political science – from Comparative Politics to Political Theory, International Relations to European Union Studies.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s