Torture Essay

2191 words - 9 pages

I. Introduction
The American citizens have been wrestling with the question of whether their government intelligence agencies should be prohibited from using torture to gather information. Since the terrorist attacks on September 11th the American government vowed to do whatever it took to hunt down those involved. In May 2004, The New Yorker released photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The disturbing pictures were released on the internet showing bodies of naked Iraqis piled onto each other being tortured and humiliated. There was a huge up roar, which caused President Bush to publicly apologize. Soon after, the CIA Conformed the use of waterboarding on three Al-Qaida suspects in 2002 and 2003, which further annihilated the debate. Since these reports, torture has been in the forefront of national politics, and the public has struggled to commit to either side.
A University of Montana study claimed that people's views of torture are often negative. However, those views change in a scenario where they felt closeness to potential victims. Results from the study suggested that people were considerably more likely to support torture during personal scenarios compared to distant scenarios. Although, people still perceive torture to be wrong, the study gives insight that many people are willing look past their moral objections in extreme situations.
This essay seeks to answer whether such a horrific tragedy like torture can ever be justifiable. Torture although an abominable act, is a necessary tool for the United States to be allowed to use. I will defend this stance by first defining torture, and its legality, secondly, look into reasons why it should or shouldn’t be allowed, and lastly analyze the information and reach our conclusion.
II. Definition of Torture
The most accepted definition of torture is defined by Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
“'torture' means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person…”

According to the definition given by the UN, torture is the intentional infliction of extreme physical suffering on some non-consenting, defenseless person. There are four reasons that cause torture to obtain a confession; to obtain information; to punish; to coerce the sufferer or others to act in certain ways. Relating it to our particular case, we will just look into obtaining information.
III. Legality of Torture
The United States have implemented laws to make torture illegal within its borders. Torture is illegal due to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which states, “Excessive Bail Shall Not be required, nor excessive...

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