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Torture Terrorist Information

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Rights
Wordcount: 1786 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Morality of Torture

The authority of using torture as а punishment has been historically controversial. Today, some people see torture as an efficient form of punishment; they believe it is especially necessary in the treatment of terrorist captives or prisoners for the purpose of extracting information. Some writers intentionally make up fake scenarios to exaggerate the advantages of torture, claiming that it is danger free, low cost and useful for obtaining fast response. However, after carefully thinking through the arguments used by many torture supporters, one will conclude that the arguments of torture supporters are fallacious. Writers who support torture show less logic, but rather indignation to viciousness. The use of torture as а form of punishment should be prohibited because contrary to the arguments of torture supporters, it does not serve а purpose, is against international law, and will only perpetuate hatred and retaliation. [1]

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The first thing that we must ask ourselves to specify is, what is Torture?

According to, the International Statuette, Torture is any kind of use of force, mental or physical used on а human being to gain third party information or self-confession. No country prefers to use it but is forced to do in order to safeguard the lives of its citizens and smoothen justice. [2] Most criminal suspects go through some level of torture. Torture may involve Physical methods like Food deprivation, verbal abuse, beatings, mutilation, rape, burning, sodomy, as well as Psychological methods like sleep deprivation, isolation, sense blocking to, etc.

I believe that torture in terrorism is wrong. It is not morally permissible to torture Al-Qaeda suspects or illegal combatants in any sense. Regardless of the damage and destruction that they have done to us, reducing ourselves to that level puts us even below them. Al-Qaeda suspects and illegal combatants act out of religious hatred – retaliating with ignorance by torturing the suspect is not the answer to preventing the war on terrorism. How would we be able to call ourselves members of the most civilized country and than see it as acceptable to chain people up and torture other human beings? Torture violates the right to bodily integrity and therefore represents а human being as having no rights and privileges that every individual person possesses.

The deliberate intentional infliction of pain and suffering on another human being is wrong. The intentional infliction of pain on an individual in response to an action after it has occurred can in no way change the effect of the original action nor can it serve to educate or awaken the individual. Negative reinforcement does not discourage future acts nor will it ever. The physical or emotional pain or injury of torture done to а human being creates only fear and trauma, it not only damages the person being penalized but it damages and enslaves those who inflict the punishment. The abuse of physical violence used on anyone is а deliberate act which brutalizes torturers and promotes sadism. Punishment is uncivilized and serves no purpose other than the perpetuation of oppression. [3] The whole idea of torture stems from the belief that, I was punished; therefore it is justifiable for me to punish another.

Not only is torture not always effective [4], but it also increases radical Islamic and moderate Islamic hatred of USA, which just recruits more terrorists. Most terrorists are not deterred by punishment. They are willing to die for their cause before giving out information or revealing secrets when they are being tortured. Torture of terrorists and illegal combatants causes these fanatic groups to retaliate and fight back which then causes more terrorist actions to continue occurring. The only way to try and prevent future attacks is to limit the amount of torture. Theoretically, it is never morally permissible to injure one human being in the hopes of saving another.

When we see the horrible footage of our own soldiers being brutally tortured by members of different religious groups over in the Middle East, it does not sit easy with us. How than can we perform the same filthy acts against another human soul. The USA has а reputation for promoting human rights around the world. To promote torture in our own country, in any shape or form, would be an act of hypocrisy. Society must have standards and laws, and if these are ignored, man will devolve and the society will collapse. At war or not, America should be the noble person and treat any prisoner, any detainee, humanely. But it is apparent that hundreds of prisoners are being abused and severely tortured still.

Torture of humans as well as animals is wrong on human grounds; and the reasoning that each living being has а soul and а life that obtains its own individual rights and privileges. Whether it be just an animal, or an actual terrorist who imposes pain and suffering upon many, these civil rights cannot be taken away and justified by the infliction of torture. The end does not justify the means. The only truly effective and successful methods of dealing with correction of behavior come through compassionate communication, comprehension of social responsibility, education, restraint and discipline. Punishment simply does not, and has not and will never work.

Everyday we read in newspapers, magazines and on internet that so-and-so of somewhere has died of torture. Everyday we come across hundreds of examples of misuse of force by the police and armed forces of many countries. We all are acquainted by the knowledge that many а times torture has been used as а method of systematic murder and decapitation of innocents by Governments. It is true and it is harrowing, but we do not support the use of torture as а killing machine nor are we supporting those perpetrator Governments using it as such.

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I firmly believe that every time an innocent is arbitrarily tortured beyond а certain point not only does he lose faith in the justice system itself but also becomes а sympathizer (if not а violent rebel). Thus we lose an innocent to extremism. This is exactly what must be avoided and the only way to do is to avoid the exercise of this power of torture. However, we do not under any circumstance use torture against humans. It is an unethical act and morally wrong.

Torture is most widely and intensively used on prisoners of wars (POWs). А war, no matter how righteous, is ultimately one form of competition between two groups who are after the same benefit. Even if the motivation of the war is reasonable, it will bring out human nature’s worst elements such as greed, hatred and even abnormal psychological problems. Once torture is used, the application will intensify because it is the best way for а person to realize the feeling of absolute power. The most recent abuse is the bestial and inhumane torture in the Abu Ghraib prison camp in Iraq. In the spring of 2003, President George W. Bush initiated а war in Iraq, having а pretext to eliminate the Saddam government which possessed weapons of mass destruction and to bring democracy to Iraq. The war ended quickly and the US and its allies proclaimed а big victory. The US government put over 5000 POWs in а prison called the Abu Ghraib. In the following year, there were 44 torture cases on over 170 POWs. One tortured prisoner described the Abu Ghraib condition as nothing but cursing and beating, а horrible threat from а master as if we were dogs. The torture in Abu Ghraib was mainly consisted of intentional violence or sexual abuse. [5] The abuse in Abu Ghraib was not disclosed until 2004, and other countries condemned the US government for its acquiescence of using torture, which greatly embarrassed the US government. Furthermore, the torture of Iraqis POWs agitated the entire Iraqi population, and there are many Iraqis who say that Iraq can never be conquered although it is now governed by the US. In addition, the case also angered many Muslims in Muslim countries such as Egypt and Indonesia. Due to international political pressure, the US government had to persecute some of the Abu Ghraib guards, including Lynndie England, and dismiss its Attorney General John Ashcroft. It is common sense that the US cannot criticize its enemies if the US itself has violated international law. Therefore, if the US continues to torture its POWs or political detainees, then we should not complain when any further counter attacks or terrorism issues come. As I think, the application of torture only raises the hostility of terrorists groups and may result in further retaliation.

The Geneva Convention was drawn in 1949. Although there are minor modifications to this law in the following years, the world’s situation is changing faster than the law. We need to have а new international law to reinforce the prohibition of torture, and we need the media to disclose the reality of torture, condemn governments that use torture as а form of punishment, and teach the public that torture will not keep peace, rather it will bring violence.

As I have seen that many of us insist torture is efficient in some extremely distinct situations, of which the good and bad are as obvious as а Hollywood movie describes, the occurrence of this kind of absolute terrorism event such as September 11th tragedy is rare. Moreover, the information provided by а tortured victim is unpredictable and unreliable. Assume there is а case that perfectly matches the conditions а torture supporter desires. One of the terrorists has been seized and tortured. Under torture, the terrorist gave the some information. Very likely, the information that he had provided was useless, for he knew little about the whole terrorist operation and simply obeyed orders to carry out acts of terrorism. Moreover, а victim will confess to anything under torture.


  • Davis, Michael, “The Moral Justifiability of Torture and Other Inhumane Treatment” International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 2005, 161–78.
  • Greenberg, Karen J., The Torture Debate in America, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Machan, Tibor “Exploring Extreme Violence (Torture)” in Journal of Social Philosophy Vol. xxi no.1, 1990.
  • “Understanding Torture and Torturers”. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 2002, pp.131-133.
  • Kampmark, Binoy, “Torture, Truth and Liberty: Placing the Conduct at Abu Ghraib in Context”. Contemporary Review. Volume: 287. Issue: 1675. August 2005, pp.65-68.


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