It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture … I consider several arguments for a Kantian absolutist position concerning torture and explain why none are sound. Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. How to change this sidebar. Can torture ever be justify? Levin gives great arguments for the use of torture through clever wording and great exemplification. Template tips. I would be sincerely grateful to have my mind changed on this subject. Fifteen experienced former investigators came up with that statement. You can get your custom paper from 2007. It has also been said that “torture destroys the soul of the torturer even as it destroys the body of his victim” (Schell, 8). Arguments for Torture. One sinful man will be hurt and a city full of people will be saved. U.S. officials now believe that his was the hand that decapitated the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Join Our Discussion. Cathleen Kavenly quotes a statement issued by fifteen experienced former investigators:”the use of torture and other inhumane and abusive treatments result in false, misleading information and loss of critical intelligence” (Kavenly, 6). Kavenly, Cathleen. Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. After all of the trials the state of Massachusetts apologized to the people for all of the horrors that had occurred. PTSD causes someone to almost relive, through memory, the traumatic event that caused the PTSD. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. “People who undergo torture display symptoms of PTSD that are similar to those of others who endure systematic and extended episodes of abuse (such as rape victims, prisoners f war, and spouse abuse survivors) (Weaver, 14). We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. This position is taken as given even though there are many puzzling moral and philosophical points to contemplate on this topic. Whether or not this is true, his membership in Al Qaeda more or less rules out his "innocence" in any important sense, and his rank in the organization suggests that his knowledge of planned atrocities must be extensive. Torture is illegal: international laws prohibit the use of torture against anybody. In case you can’t find a sample example, our professional writers are ready to help you with writing Many of their arguments only work in very specific situations that may never happen. Rather than conceal his guilt, he gloats about the forthcoming explosion and the magnitude of human suffering it will cause. It had to be pretty slim. Utilitarianist arguments for and against Torture. It is safe to say that no reliable information would be obtained and second, this act could severely damage the innocent person physically and mentally. Ethical arguments regarding torture is similar to these topics: Ticking time bomb scenario, Torture museum, Torture and the Ticking Bomb and more. If you think that the equivalence between torture and collateral damage does not hold, because torture is up close and personal while stray bombs aren't, you stand convicted of a failure of imagination on at least two counts: first, a moment's reflection on the horrors that must have been visited upon innocent Afghanis and Iraqis by our bombs will reveal that they are on par with those of any dungeon. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Torture is a short-cut for good intelligence practices. The immorality of torture is rhetorically weighed against the morality of saving lives. Should something as unspeakable as torture be allowed because of situations that most likely will never happen? Then where will interrogators be with no source of information to speak of? The logic of every justification of torture is that it offers a foolproof solution to an impossible problem: lack of knowledge. As the War on Terrorism intensifies, the ticking-bomb argu It seems, however, that this position is impossible to square with our willingness to wage modern war in the first place. “The Church Can Help Survivors of Torture.” News Network 26.1 (2006): 14+. An argument made apparent by Andrew Coyne is the idea that someone being tortured will say anything to relieve the pain, even the truth (Coyne, 34). Assuming that we want to maintain a coherent ethical position on these matters, this appears to be a circumstance of forced choice: if we are willing to drop bombs, or even risk that rifle rounds might go astray, we should be willing to torture a certain class of criminal suspects and military prisoners; if we are unwilling to torture, we should be unwilling to wage modern war. Indeed, the Abu Ghraib scandal may be one of the costliest foreign policy blunders to occur in the last century, given the degree to which it simultaneously inflamed the Muslim world and eroded the sympathies of our democratic allies. As a medium of revenge, it is a question of morality or sort of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Learn more about working with templates. It would also be a problem even if we resolved to fight only defensive wars. Hi - I know most people are against the use of torture, but was wondering if anyone can give me ideas for a debate in which I must ignore in favour of t Blog. The “ticking bomb” argument for torture does not allow for the use of torture routinely. And yet, these developments do not shed much light on the ethics of torturing people like Osama bin Laden when we get them in custody. There is no reasoning with those facts: torture is wrong. Might we not be tempted to call it a "truth pill" in the end? Coyne, Andrew. Opponents of torture will be quick to argue that confessions elicited by torture are notoriously unreliable. I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror. the ‘nuts and bolts’ of moral or legal arguments for or against torture per se. He now sits in your custody. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture come up with. We might wonder what a world full of pacifists would have done once it had grown "aroused"--commit suicide as well? "You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy", Don't use plagiarized sources. The philosopher Jonathan Glover points out that "in modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful." This writer is also forced to turn to the Salem witch trials incident. The ethical divide that seems to be opening up here suggests that those who are willing to drop bombs might want to abduct the nearest and dearest of suspected terrorists--their wives, mothers, and daughters--and torture them as well, assuming anything profitable to our side might come of it. What is the difference between pursuing a course of action where we run the risk of inadvertently subjecting some innocent men to torture, and pursuing one in which we will inadvertently kill far greater numbers of innocent men, women, and children? Kavenly also states her own opinion that evidence obtained by torture is no more reliable than a ghost sighting. Torture should not be considered in any situation to obtain information. There is much to be said about the disparity here, but the relevance to the ethics of torture should be obvious. Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. Articulation seven then presents the detention and interrogation program as an ongoing inevitability. Which way should the balance swing? Admittedly, this would be a ghastly result to have reached by logical argument, and we will want to find some way of escaping it. The terrorist just might send officials on a wild goose chase. While we hold the moral high ground in our war on terror, we appear to hold it less and less. A utilitarian would say that performing the torture would maximise pleasure for all the parties affected and do the greatest good to the greatest number therefore they would torture the convict. David Gushee states that torture violates the dignity of a human being and that it mistreats the vulnerable and violates the demand of justice (Gushee). My contention is that while Kantian ethics does not support a variety of moral absolutism about torture, it does suggest a strong version of legal absolutism. I close by clarifying just what the Kantian case against torture is. Such analysis would necessarily lead to a lesser evil choice in favour of torturing the terrorist. The purpose of torture is either to impart revenge or to obtain information or both. Weaver, Andrew J., Carolyn L. Stapleton. Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/an-argument-on-torture/, This is just a sample. Sitemap. As a means to obtain information, it is of questionable merit because the victim will tell you anything the torturer wants to hear. Simply Wrong Dictionary.com defines torture as “the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.” A second definition at dictionary.com states torture as “extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.”Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon … Torture is cruel, inhumane, degrading, and destructive. I find it genuinely bizarre that while the torture of Osama bin Laden himself could be expected to provoke convulsions of conscience among our leaders, the perfectly foreseeable (and therefore accepted) slaughter of children does not. While the most realistic version of the ticking bomb case may not persuade everyone that torture is ethically acceptable, adding further embellishments seems to awaken the Grand Inquisitor in most of us. Web. Congress's definition of torture in those laws - the infliction of severe mental or physical pain - leaves room for interrogation methods that go beyond polite conversation. Imagine how we torturers would feel if, after giving this pill to captive terrorists, each lay down for what appeared to be an hour's nap only to arise and immediately confess everything he knows about the workings of his organization. While pacifism in this form can constitute a direct confrontation with injustice (and requires considerable bravery), it is only applicable to a limited range of human conflicts. ” A second definition at dictionary. Today is National Voter Registration Day! Torture is used with the intent to create conditions favorable for successful interrogation, that is to break down one’s will. If your daughter won't tip the scales, then add the daughters of every couple for a thousand miles--millions of little girls have, by some perverse negligence on the part of our government, come under the control of an evil genius who now sits before you in shackles. It is not a successful means of obtaining information or saving lives. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! Many in favor of torture tactics believe that it is necessary to use torture to extract information from a subject. A signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, the United States "does not torture." Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. The authors in the book have no interest in debating why exactly torture is so terrible and is rejected by all civilised persons. As a foreign policy, this would leave us with something like the absolute pacifism of Gandhi. What incentive does cruelty give than to be counterproductive and not cooperate? Conclusion. Enter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: our most valuable capture in our war on terror. There is no question that Abu Ghraib was a travesty, and there is no question that it has done our country lasting harm. Our casual abuse of ordinary prisoners is largely responsible for this. NOTE: Please see my most recent thoughts on this and other controversial subjects here. Make these confessions as unreliable as you like--the chance that our interests will be advanced in any instance of torture need only equal the chance of such occasioned by the dropping of a single bomb. Why let torture happen, if the reason for torture never happens? ” Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. ” Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. Messerli, Joe. [1] Yet abundant evidence indicates that it does, directly or by proxy—and in fact always has. This argument may seem very logical at first glance, but once dissected one can see the many flaws in every part of this argument. An Argument on Torture. In this context, we should note that many variables influence our feelings about an act of physical violence. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Now let me make clear what I mean. Almost every dictionary gives two definitions of torture: a narrow one… inflicting great pain. ... provides arguments against justifying torture based on consequentialist grounds and attacks interrogational torture … Torture not only is counterproductive in saving lives but effective in destroying a human being. For those who make it their business to debate the ethics of torture this is known as the "ticking-bomb" case. Video conferencing best practices: Tips to make meeting online even better No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. The argument being developed here is that in a world of terrorism, we are going to have to torture because torture saves lives. An analogous argument holds that human decision-makers are fundamentally prone in certain situations to believe that their judgment is better than it is, and that, to be ethical, they must pre-commit themselves to a particular course of action in those situations. We can be sure that he would have killed many more women and girls by dropping bombs from pristine heights, and they are likely to have died equally horrible deaths, but his culpability would not appear the same. There is no doubt that torture is barbaric. According to Michael Levin’s article, “The Case for Torture,” his view on torture is that there are many situations in which torture would be against the law but would be obligatory for someone’s conscious. I show that the scenario is spurious; and that the likely consequences of the use of interrogational torture in such cases are disastrous. This causes a slippery slope that can be very hard not to fall down. by Bernard Chazelle . (In fact, The New York Times has reported that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was tortured in a procedure known as "water-boarding," despite our official disavowal of this practice.). com states torture as “extreme anguish of body or mind; agony. Regardless of the intent, its use will … When people start to violates the god-given rights of human beings, where will it stop? This is constantly disproved by many other sources. Where it is not applicable, it is seems flagrantly immoral. Throughout this author’s time in research and study, there has yet been a reported case found of which a real life scenario of a “ticking bomb” incident has actually occurred. NOTE: Please see my most recent thoughts on this and other controversial subjects here: Response to Controversy. To learn that one's grandfather flew a bombing mission over Dresden in the Second World War is one thing; to hear that he killed five little girls and their mother with a shovel is another. The concept of a torture warrant has primarily been offered by Alan Dershowitz, with an ex ante authorisation of the practice via judicial channels. “What is Wrong With Torture?” Nation 280.5 (2005): 8. Join the Discussion. It is an argument that challenges the notion that torture is morally … There seems no question that if all the good people in the world adopted Gandhi's ethics, the thugs would inherit the earth. We would do well to reflect on Gandhi's remedy for the Holocaust: he believed that the Jews should have committed mass suicide, because this "would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler's violence." However, there has been one notable argument for the moral and legal permissibility of torture; torture warrants. First, the interrogators must have the right person in order to get any information about this alleged terror strike. Torture is inflicting pain on someone to get them to say or do something.Torture is one of the crimes that humans have committed for many centuries. No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. It is the torture that is wrong” (Schell, 8). If there is even one chance in a million that he will tell us something under torture that will lead to the further dismantling of Al Qaeda, it seems that we should use every means at our disposal to get him talking. This essay has addressed main arguments for the support of torture. Though there are many proponents, claiming that torture is acceptable in a number of certain cases—such as against terrorists or maniacs—I believe they should not be tolerated due to several reasons. Imagine that a known terrorist has planted a bomb in the heart of a nearby city. “Bad Evidence: Not Only Is It Torture, It Doesn’t Work.” Commonweal 12 Sep. 2008: 6. 2 Nov. 2009. Some examples are used to illustrate the depth of inhumanity to which, it is argued, those who justify torture in a ticking bomb situation must be … Is it right to ruin the body and mentality of a human being when the same information can be obtained without the use of torture? Arguments against Torture. “Torture is not wrong because someone else says it is wrong…. Arguments for Torture. We could easily devise methods of torture that would render a torturer as blind to the plight of his victims as a bomber pilot is at thirty thousand feet. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. An old American tradition of state-sponsored torture even has its own lexicon: SOA, Kubark, Phoenix, MK-Ultra, rendition, CIA's "no-touch" paradigm, etc. “Where to Draw the Line?” Maclean’s 14 Sep. 2009: 34+. our expert writers, Please indicate where to send you the sample, Hi, my name is Jenn Documented abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere have now inspired legislation prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of military prisoners. Oct. 14, 2020. Then there is the argument that in order to save lives, the rights of an individual must be put aside. And what counts as torture? Frontline, by emphasizing torture’s ineffectiveness as the core of its argument against EITs, ironically echoed the obsession with safety … Water-boarding clearly counts as torture by the second definition, perhaps the issue isn't clear given the first definition. In an earlier part piece of this essay it was made clear that torture only provides false information: but at what cost? “Torture.” . Argument On Torture. I believe in American exceptionalism. torture as a means to obtain information deemed necessary to prevent terrorism, I have decided to write any essay about the tortured reasoning and arguments that tend to typify much of the debate about this emotionally laden issue. Clearly, the consequences of one person's uncooperativeness can be made so grave, and his malevolence and culpability so transparent, as to stir even a self-hating moral relativist from his dogmatic slumbers. What was the chance that the dropping of bomb number 117 on Kandahar would effect the demise of Al Qaeda? Schell, Jonathan. your own paper. If bombs seem too impersonal an evil, picture your seven-year-old daughter being slowly asphyxiated in a warehouse just five minutes away, while the man in your custody holds the keys to her release. Every piece of information that led accusers to another “witch” was false and only was obtained because of the fear inflicted by torture. “Should High-ranking Captured Terrorists Be Tortured to Obtain Information?” Balanced Politics 4 Mar. Web. In the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, this is not a comfortable position to have publicly adopted. The bomb has been ticking ever since September 11th, 2001. The ticking-bomb argument, where a terrorist is tortured in order to extract information of a primed bomb located in a civilian area, is often invoked as one of those extreme circumstances where torture becomes justified. Another problem to this “ticking bomb” argument is that the person who is captured may very well choose death to torture (Messerli). History has already proved through the Salem witch trials that torture can cause many deaths of innocent people. Consequentialist/utilitarians argue that a moral cost-benefit analysis needs to be made, pitting the suffering of the one terrorist under torture against the suffering of so many innocent civilians if the terrorist bomb were to explode. Dictionary. The “ticking bomb” argument is the idea that in the case that there is a limited amount of time to stop a terrorist attack and the terrorist is in custody; officials should be allowed to torture vital information about the terror strike from the captive. Who better to make a truthful statement on the subject than the professionals? To demonstrate just how abstract the torments of the tortured can be made to seem, we need only imagine an ideal "torture pill"--a drug that would deliver both the instruments of torture and the instrument of their concealment. And a broad one… severe mental anxiety and suffering. So we can now ask, if we are willing to act in a way that guarantees the misery and death of some considerable number of innocent children, why spare the rod with known terrorists? The so-called ticking bomb is invoked by philosophers and lawyers trying to justify, on behalf of their political masters, the use of torture in extremis. Essay, Use multiple resourses when assembling your essay, Get help form professional writers when not sure you can do it yourself, Use Plagiarism Checker to double check your essay, Do not copy and paste free to download essays. The only way to rule out collateral damage would be to refuse to fight wars under any circumstances. If a conventional explosion doesn't move you, consider a nuclear bomb hidden in midtown Manhattan. It is considered the victims whole life because the trauma of torture follows the victim their entire life. In modern warfare, "collateral damage"--the maiming and killing innocent noncombatants--is unavoidable. Torture ruins the life of the victim. I believe the American advent, the American idea, and the American experience are exceptional: a nation of laws, and not of men and women, a constitutional democracy founded in and devoted to the liberty of its people, a culture and nationality not of ethnicity or spiritual uniformity, but of the … One could argue the arguments for and against utilitarianism. Is potentially saving lives more important than the human rights of terrorist? Torture is sometimes used to destroy the autonomy of the victim some societies have used torture to suppress independent thought and convert people to 'right-thinking'. Don't use plagiarized sources. 2006. 1 Nov.2009. Given the damage we were willing to cause to the bodies and minds of innocent children in Afghanistan and Iraq, our disavowal of torture in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed seems perverse. I will now present an argument for the use of torture in rare circumstances. Logically, once anti-absolutism is rejected, torture must be prohibited absolutely, as it contains the worst acts one person can possibly inflict on another. While many people have objected, on emotional grounds, to my defense of torture, no one has pointed out a flaw in my argument. Exploding the "Ticking Bomb" Argument. I have already expressed my views with regard to All rights reserved. Effects of Torture. Consequently, our natural aversion to the sights and sounds of the dungeon provide no foothold for those who would argue against the use of torture. The Nature of Terrorists. The acts of torture during these trials caused many innocent people to die. com defines torture as “the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty. Torture is still today a very controversial topic with compelling arguments for both sides of whether to torture or to not. What would happen if interrogators tortured an innocent person to no avail? Get Your Custom Essay on, By clicking “Write my paper”, you agree to our, By clicking Send Me The Sample you agree on the, https://graduateway.com/an-argument-on-torture/, Get your custom There is no escaping the fact that whenever we drop bombs, we drop them with the knowledge that some number of children will be blinded, disemboweled, paralyzed, orphaned, and killed by them. Here is a character who actually seems to have stepped out of a philosopher's thought experiment. References. Torture in the modern world is a relic of the distant past. Finally, I test the argument against a real case. Gushee, David P. “5 Reasons Torture is Always Wrong: And Why There Should Be No Acceptions.” Christianity Today 1 Mar. Even if we can't quite muster a retort to the ticking bomb case, most of us take refuge in the fact that the paradigmatic case will almost never arise. Opponents of torture will be quick to argue that confessions elicited by torture are notoriously unreliable. (2016, Dec 16). Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. There, I said it. If torture had never been used to obtain evidence, it would have saved many lives. And it will remain unavoidable for the foreseeable future. Many agencies claim that torture has been a successful tool in obtaining valuable information and this is used to justify the illegal action the U.S choses to practice. Torture need not even impose a significant risk of death or permanent injury on its victims; while the collaterally damaged are, almost by definition, crippled or killed. Topic. ©2021 Verizon Media. I invite any reader who discovers a problem with my argument to point it out to me in the comment section of this blog. This anti-torture argument, in fact, works by positing that human knowledge has intrinsic limits. Collateral damage would be a problem even if our bombs were far "smarter" than they are now. By the time officials trying to prevent a catastrophe have realized that information given was false, it may be too late to stop the terror strike. Many rulers used torture to gain insight into their enemies movements and plans and used … Will cause the `` ticking-bomb '' case mind ; agony human being saved many lives a foolproof solution to impossible! Officials on a wild goose chase war on terror in debating why exactly torture is still today very... `` truth pill '' in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, this objection seems to have publicly adopted and the! Against utilitarianism reliable than a ghost sighting gain insight into their enemies movements and plans and used … arguments! That most likely will never happen way to rule out collateral damage '' -- commit suicide well! Suffering it will cause to you absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture follows the their... 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