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How Should We Treat Detainees?

An Examination of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" under the Light of Scripture and the Just War Tradition

Direct Price: $39.99 $33.00
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 184
ISBN: 9781629952888
Publication Date 09/22/16

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During the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American government authorized “enhanced interrogation techniques” to obtain answers for potentially life-threatening situations from those in custody of U.S. forces. Harlow argues that this policy was contrary to Scripture and the just war tradition established by Augustine, Calvin, Murray, and Ramsey. Here Harlow:

  • explains the background of “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on detainees.
  • details how historical prohibitions against torture, violence, and sexual and religious humiliation during interrogations were violated.
  • demonstrates how those prohibitions are consistent with Scripture and the just war tradition.
  • shows how the support of these interrogation techniques by prominent theologians conflicts with the just war tradition.
  • encourages Christians to use the same criteria for decisions about national security policy that they use for other moral issues. 


“Brings a sharp and analytical legal and theological perspective to a difficult and contested topic. Offering a biblical critique of enhanced interrogation techniques and working within the centuries-old framework of the just war tradition, Harlow shows that hard questions can be answered and that, in a world of gray, black and white does exist.”

—Timothy J. Demy, Professor of Military Ethics, U.S. Naval War College

“Porter Harlow has written a richly informed, morally compelling treatise on one of the signal ethical issues of our day. The treatment of the weak and the outcast is a sure test of a nation’s character—and who has less status than a prisoner of war?”

—Daniel M. Doriani, Vice President of Strategic Academic Initiatives and Professor of Theology, Covenant Theological Seminary


The Author

J. Porter Harlow

J. Porter Harlow

J. Porter Harlow (J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law; LL.M., U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School; M.A.R., Reformed Theological Seminary) recently retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as an operational law attorney—including serving as an associate professor of international and operational law at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Virginia.