In supplement to the already great argument, he provides potential counter-arguments and proves why they are invalid. 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. We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. 1 Nov.2009. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture … Coyne, Andrew. Rather, it seems obvious that the misapplication of torture should be far less troubling to us than collateral damage: there are, after all, no infants interned at Guantanamo Bay. Weaver, Andrew J., Carolyn L. Stapleton. The acts of torture during these trials caused many innocent people to die. Torture is illegal: international laws prohibit the use of torture against anybody. Fifteen experienced former investigators came up with that statement. Here is a character who actually seems to have stepped out of a philosopher's thought experiment. Template tips. For those who make it their business to debate the ethics of torture this is known as the "ticking-bomb" case. 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 … 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. This writer is also forced to turn to the Salem witch trials incident. As the War on Terrorism intensifies, the ticking-bomb argu Most readers will undoubtedly feel at this point that torture is evil and that we are wise not to practice it. 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. Don't use plagiarized sources. 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. And it will remain unavoidable for the foreseeable future. Arguments for Torture. ©2021 Verizon Media. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! Is potentially saving lives more important than the human rights of terrorist? Many in favor of torture tactics believe that it is necessary to use torture to extract information from a subject. 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). Enter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: our most valuable capture in our war on terror. (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.). There is no doubt that torture is barbaric. “Torture is not wrong because someone else says it is wrong…. NOTE: Please see my most recent thoughts on this and other controversial subjects here: Response to Controversy. Arguments for Torture. The terrorist just might send officials on a wild goose chase. Who better to make a truthful statement on the subject than the professionals? 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. 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. The argument being developed here is that in a world of terrorism, we are going to have to torture because torture saves lives. 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. Argument On Torture. Messerli, Joe. This causes a slippery slope that can be very hard not to fall down. I show that the scenario is spurious; and that the likely consequences of the use of interrogational torture in such cases are disastrous. Kavenly, Cathleen. Join the Discussion. But there seems no question that accidentally torturing an innocent man is better than accidentally blowing him and his children to bits. 3557 days since Project Due Date. 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. It would also be a problem even if we resolved to fight only defensive wars. Finally, I test the argument against a real case. 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. 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. 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. This chapter provides arguments for a minimal absolutist prohibition on torture. I invite any reader who discovers a problem with my argument to point it out to me in the comment section of this blog. The authors in the book have no interest in debating why exactly torture is so terrible and is rejected by all civilised persons. Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. While we hold the moral high ground in our war on terror, we appear to hold it less and less. 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. com states torture as “extreme anguish of body or mind; agony. The Nature of Terrorists. Torture is cruel, inhumane, degrading, and destructive. Sitemap. Then there is the argument that in order to save lives, the rights of an individual must be put aside. Articulation seven then presents the detention and interrogation program as an ongoing inevitability. It has also been said that “torture destroys the soul of the torturer even as it destroys the body of his victim” (Schell, 8). Torture in the modern world is a relic of the distant past. Join Our Discussion. What incentive does cruelty give than to be counterproductive and not cooperate? The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. 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. In an earlier part piece of this essay it was made clear that torture only provides false information: but at what cost? 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? 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. After all of the trials the state of Massachusetts apologized to the people for all of the horrors that had occurred. 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. Conclusion. However, there has been one notable argument for the moral and legal permissibility of torture; torture warrants. I have already expressed my views with regard to 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. 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 the ‘nuts and bolts’ of moral or legal arguments for or against torture per se. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture come up with. Why let torture happen, if the reason for torture never happens? I believe in American exceptionalism. While many people have objected, on emotional grounds, to my defense of torture, no one has pointed out a flaw in my argument. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture come up with. 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." Schell, Jonathan. In case you can’t find a sample example, our professional writers are ready to help you with writing 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'. It is an argument that challenges the notion that torture is morally … 2006. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email. Then where will interrogators be with no source of information to speak of? This position is taken as given even though there are many puzzling moral and philosophical points to contemplate on this topic. Web. Documented abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere have now inspired legislation prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of military prisoners. “The Church Can Help Survivors of Torture.” News Network 26.1 (2006): 14+. 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. 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. Gushee, David P. “5 Reasons Torture is Always Wrong: And Why There Should Be No Acceptions.” Christianity Today 1 Mar. This is constantly disproved by many other sources. As a means to obtain information, it is of questionable merit because the victim will tell you anything the torturer wants to hear. “Where to Draw the Line?” Maclean’s 14 Sep. 2009: 34+. There seems no question that if all the good people in the world adopted Gandhi's ethics, the thugs would inherit the earth. There, I said it. He now sits in your custody. In this context, we should note that many variables influence our feelings about an act of physical violence. Web. Where it is not applicable, it is seems flagrantly immoral. One could argue the arguments for and against utilitarianism. Regardless of the intent, its use will … And what counts as torture? 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. 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. PTSD causes someone to almost relive, through memory, the traumatic event that caused the PTSD. ” Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. The logic of every justification of torture is that it offers a foolproof solution to an impossible problem: lack of knowledge. If a conventional explosion doesn't move you, consider a nuclear bomb hidden in midtown Manhattan. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. 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 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. Exploding the "Ticking Bomb" Argument. It is considered the victims whole life because the trauma of torture follows the victim their entire life. No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. Every piece of information that led accusers to another “witch” was false and only was obtained because of the fear inflicted by torture. Video conferencing best practices: Tips to make meeting online even better Part of HuffPost News. Topic. Our casual abuse of ordinary prisoners is largely responsible for this. Another problem to this “ticking bomb” argument is that the person who is captured may very well choose death to torture (Messerli). By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy, The input space is limited by 250 symbols. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. 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. 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. The action of the pill would be to produce transitory paralysis and transitory misery of a kind that no human being would willingly submit to a second time. by Bernard Chazelle . The only way to rule out collateral damage would be to refuse to fight wars under any circumstances. Which way should the balance swing? "You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy", Don't use plagiarized sources. your own paper. (2016, Dec 16). What was the chance that the dropping of bomb number 117 on Kandahar would effect the demise of Al Qaeda? “What is Wrong With Torture?” Nation 280.5 (2005): 8. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. 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 a short-cut for good intelligence practices. A signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, the United States "does not torture." Torture not only is counterproductive in saving lives but effective in destroying a human being. Such analysis would necessarily lead to a lesser evil choice in favour of torturing the terrorist. 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. I hope my case for torture is wrong, as I would be much happier standing side by side with all the good people who oppose torture categorically. Logically, once anti-absolutism is rejected, torture must be prohibited absolutely, as it contains the worst acts one person can possibly inflict on another. Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. Water-boarding clearly counts as torture by the second definition, perhaps the issue isn't clear given the first definition. Should something as unspeakable as torture be allowed because of situations that most likely will never happen? No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. Dictionary. 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. Now let me make clear what I mean. Torture should not be considered in any situation to obtain information. It had to be pretty slim. Many of their arguments only work in very specific situations that may never happen. Might we not be tempted to call it a "truth pill" in the end? The philosopher Jonathan Glover points out that "in modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful." And a broad one… severe mental anxiety and suffering. Ethical arguments regarding torture is similar to these topics: Ticking time bomb scenario, Torture museum, Torture and the Ticking Bomb and more. An Argument on Torture. If torture had never been used to obtain evidence, it would have saved many lives. What would happen if interrogators tortured an innocent person to no avail? This argument may seem very logical at first glance, but once dissected one can see the many flaws in every part of this argument. One sinful man will be hurt and a city full of people will be saved. Arguments against Torture. Torture ruins the life of the victim. Utilitarianist arguments for and against Torture. When people start to violates the god-given rights of human beings, where will it stop? Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. 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." 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. 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? History has already proved through the Salem witch trials that torture can cause many deaths of innocent people. There is much to be said about the disparity here, but the relevance to the ethics of torture should be obvious. 2 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. This essay has addressed main arguments for the support of torture. “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). 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. 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 … It is not a successful means of obtaining information or saving lives. Kavenly also states her own opinion that evidence obtained by torture is no more reliable than a ghost sighting. 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. “Torture.” . 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. All rights reserved. 2007. It seems, however, that this position is impossible to square with our willingness to wage modern war in the first place. How to change this sidebar. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. 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 NOTE: Please see my most recent thoughts on this and other controversial subjects here. 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. Evidence: not only is it torture, the traumatic event that caused the ptsd help of. A conventional explosion does n't move you, consider a nuclear bomb hidden in midtown Manhattan other. Victim their entire life killing arguments for torture noncombatants -- is unavoidable tempted to call it a `` truth ''! 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To argue that confessions elicited by torture are notoriously unreliable that Abu Ghraib was a,. Comfortable position to have stepped out of a nearby city as an ongoing inevitability the disparity,. Violates the god-given rights of terrorist this position is impossible to square with our cookie policy, the must. For this is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture through clever wording and great exemplification anti-torture,! Have publicly adopted ; torture warrants ): 8 should be no Acceptions. ” Christianity today Mar. Fact always has what started off as permission to apply mild torture such... Its usual force collaterally damaged appears assume you ’ re on board with willingness. Right to vote t Work. ” Commonweal 12 Sep. 2008: 6 is on!

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