Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Abstract

In 2007, Professor Eric K Yamamoto acknowledged that reparations theory and practice had reached a crossroads and called for a new strategic framework that reparations advocates could utilize in working to achieve redress for social and historical wrongs. This Article attempts to answer Yamamoto's call. In it, I situate my proposal for a truth commission to redress the post-9/11 torture program in a new Inclusive Model for Social Healing. In the past, reparations advocates have relied on litigation-a strategic model that excludes participants other than the named parties-to

obtain redress. By increasing the number of stakeholders in a reparations scheme, the Inclusive Model for Social Healing has the potential to attract more widespread support from the public and is more resilient to criticism than exclusive litigation models.

A truth commission that would provide some measure of redress for those who have suffered from the post-9/11 torture program is a critical testing ground for this new model, especially as judicial avenues for relief appear to have been blocked. The federal courts have consistently dismissed civil actions alleging torture and other brutal treatment brought by former detainees against government officials. Attorney General

Eric Holder does not seem keen on pursuing charges against CIA agents operating under the Torture Memos, so recourse in criminal court appears to be likewise unavailable. Finally, despite concluding that the authors of the infamous Torture Memos had relied on flawed legal reasoning, the Office of Professional Responsibility's February 2010 report forecloses the possibility that John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and other Justice Department

lawyers will be subject to disciplinary action for creating the torture program. The time to press for alternative forms of redress is now.

The Inclusive Model for Social Healing is well-suited for the problem that currently faces the nation as it begins to confront the reality that in order to win the military battle against al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups, it must first win the ideological battle for hearts and minds. The narratology of Islamist terrorist organizations relies on a cosmology that separates actors into two categories-"us" or "them." While U.S.

leadership has submitted to a similar world view in the past, it must reject exclusive categorizations like this. The Inclusive Model for Social Healing directly confronts the exclusive terrorist ideology and provides an alternative narrative of inclusion premised upon social healing.