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The Issue Of Ethical Torture Essay

2102 words - 8 pages

Given the choice, would you sacrifice one life to save two lives, ten, or would it have to be one hundred? What would you give to save your nation? These are questions that our government deals with every day. Many American citizens believe that government should be able to use every means possible to protect its citizens, yet their brothers disagree. “Every means possible” they believe to be too strong, too all-inclusive. These people recognize an ethical problem with this statement. The destruction and violation of human rights is exactly what we should stand against. Both views are well thought out. Both have weighed the costs. Therefore they both may lie partially in the right. However, it is the government’s job to protect and preserve its people and their values. Torture, in its base form, is unethical, but the use of humane methods of enhanced interrogation in the most dire circumstances protects the people and, through preserving a country’s people, their values.
Torture, unfortunately, has left its bloody fingerprints all over the past of mankind. Torture was used long before even the Inquisition of the Middle Ages used it in an attempt to squash the Reformation. Adolph Hitler took torture to a whole new level with his Holocaust, and still mankind faces this issue (ProQuest Staff). David Masci, author of Torture, states that the United Nations outlawed torture in multiple documents including the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He also records that 2001’s State Department report recognized 100 countries on 5 continents that practiced state sanctioned torture. Stereotypically these countries have been African, Middle Eastern and Latin American, yet America is known to be one of them (ProQuest Staff). Although the U.S. does not use extensive methods such as tongue screws or electric shocks from head to groin, Masci states that the U.S. does use means such as sleep deprivation and verbal threats regarding the convict’s families. Masci goes on to quote an unnamed counterterrorism official as saying, “If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you're probably not doing your job.” Torture is clearly a method of counterterrorism efforts that is frowned upon, but, even though we might wish that mankind was above such things, this issue of necessity should still be debated.
The United States government has had to deal with this issue constantly throughout the nation’s history and, more recently, since nine-eleven. There were some officials who believed that the use of torture in this instance was necessary to protect the lives of the American people and the name of the nation. Others clung to the virtues of humanity’s rights believing that torture was ineffective, immoral and inhumane (Masci). After the Death of Osama Bin Laden, many, including Brian Dickerson author of Bin Laden’s Death Doesn’t Validate Torture, were wondering by what means was such vital...

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