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Roberts, Rodney C.. The American Value of Fear and the Indefinite Detention of Terrorist Suspects
2007, Public Affairs Quarterly, 21 (4): 405-419.
Added by: Rochelle DuFord
Summary: This paper develops the claim that indefinite detention (as used by the U.S. following the attacks on September 11, 2001) is justfied by an appeal to racialized fear. Roberts argues that the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists is both immoral and unjust--claiming that arguments in favor of it (such as the interest in interrogation, the consequentialist justification, and the preventative detention argument) fail to ground the permissibility of indefinite detention.

Comment: This text would be of use in a course discussing the ethics of war, criminal justice ethics, or the idea of terrorism. It presents a clear discussion, in an accessible way, of a number of arguments in favor of indefinite detention, ultimately arguing that such defenses are insufficient to ground its moral permissibility.

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