The Morality Of Torture Essay

1348 words - 5 pages

The Morality of Torture

The moral issue of torture is one that has come under scrutiny by many national and international organizations as of late. To talk about torture one must really understand what torture is. As taken from Dictionary.com “1.a. Infliction or severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion. b. An instrument or a method for inflicting such pain. 2. Excruciating physical or mental pain; agony. 3. Something causing severe pain or anguish.” This is just the literal meaning of the word but doesn’t entail the great horror that usually accompanies torture. As stated in the “Ticking Bomb” example given on the instruction sheets, “The interrogation won’t be pretty, and the prisoner may never recover. Shall we do whatever is necessary?” On what moral level is bringing a human being to humiliation, unbearable physical and mental abuse, and most of the time an ultimate end ever an acceptable practice? Torture should be as unthinkable as slavery. In principle it is: since World War II, governments the world over have agreed to ban torture without exception, even when at war or facing acts of terrorism. International treaties banning torture and other, inhuman, and degrading practices are among the most widely ratified treaties in existence. It is not just the United States that endorses these practices; it is over 150 counties according to the United Nations expert on torture Theo van Boven. Since the United States has gone to “war on terror” in Afghanistan, the president and other top officials seem to think that we are not actually “at war” rather these detainees are outside the realm of prisoners of war (POW) status and they don’t have rights under the Geneva Conventions. Now governments are returning alleged terrorists or national security suspects to countries where they are at risk of torture or ill treatment. This is just a reminder as to why the U.S. did not join the International Criminal Court because they have the “bad man” mindset knowing that they will or already use these tactics. There are many reasons as to why torture is immoral and three of these such reasons are; torture is an unreliable source of information and can work against a government, torture is illegal under most every nations’ laws, and torture is just plain immoral and that is the reason it is illegal.

Torture as a means of interrogation may result in false statements, for a person under torture is likely to say anything to lessen the pain. Thus information received under torture is inadmissible as evidence in legal proceedings in the US and overseas. Mistreatment of people creates resentment and anger in the individual and his family, friends and community, and therefore any government-sanctioned torture here is certain to generate more hateful opponents of the US. The official use of torture by the President or another governing body in the U.S. (as given as a replacement on the instruction sheet for this paper) would nullify US...

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