Is Torture Ever Acceptable?

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In todays terrorist, prone world, there have been propositions on the use of more aggressive techniques to acquire information in order to prevent such atrocities. In his regard, most have been of the opinion that the use of torture to interrogate terror suspects. The reasoning behind such line thought is that by using torture, information will be acquired in a timely fashion thus preventing potential attacks while at the same time deterring those that would support the terrorists ideologies in the future. As such, torture is viewed as a necessary evil in such situations typically referred to as the ticking time bomb scenarios. However, there have been very few if any, ticking time bomb scenarios. Subsequently, it is not guaranteed that by torturing terror suspects, valid information will be acquired. The government cannot be absolutely sure that the individual to be tortured has the required information that will lead to the prevention of the heinous crime. As such, torture should not be acceptable in any circumstance as it is morally wrong to inflict pain on another human being purposefully, it goes against basic human rights there are better ways to acquire information and finally, the ticking time bomb scenario is flawed.

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The ticking time bomb scenario is the major tool in the arsenal of the proponents of torture. According to Benjamin, Jr., in his analysis of the attitudes towards torture, the results showed that a majority of people were willing to condone torture if it was in an effort to save a loved one Furthermore, people will more likely accept torture as an interrogation technique if the practice itself is sanctioned by the authorities (886). Subsequently, the ticking time bomb scenario is majorly hinged on the idea of inflicting pain on a few to save the many. However, as previously stated, the scenario is flawed in nature. It depends on numerous implicit assumptions such as the probability that a ticking time bomb exists; that the suspect in question has the information required to stop the ticking time bomb, that is, in the case that the suspect has the information required; whether it can be assured that he or she will provide it; that torturing the suspect is the last resort, that is, all other avenues have been exhausted to no avail; and ultimately, with all other assumption being met, that with the information acquired, averting the disaster is a possibility but not avoidable.

Thus, torture can strictly only be acceptable if and only if all five of the assumptions are in place. If even one is absent, then, in that case, torture is unacceptable. However, in the modern society, there has not been a recorded case of a ticking time bomb scenario. Thus, making a pro-torture argument on this assumption is basing it on speculation. Furthermore, in the real world, if there were a ticking time bomb, there would be no way to have adequate knowledge of the ticking time bomb. If there was a way, that same strategy could be employed to acquire information on how to stop it as opposed to resorting to torture (Christopher 11).

Torture should never be acceptable as it a major violation of the basic human rights. Torture is appropriately seen as an inhumane and medieval ways of treating the human condition and has no place in the modern society regardless of its origin, the crimes committed of the perceived good that will result from it. In this regard, there have been several treaties that have been signed regarding the use of torture. For example, the Geneva convention forbids the use of any form of violence to person or life as a means of acquiring information. Subsequently, in the United Nations Universal Declaration of human rights, it is stated that no person is to be subject to any form of degrading inhumane and cruel punishment a sentiment also echoed in several other treaties such as The United Nations Convention Against Torture, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Thus, on a statutory level, the use of torture is not acceptable in any circumstance (Christopher 7).

The use of torture should never be acceptable as it would contribute to the loss of trust in the government by its citizens. One of the chief elements of the citizens trust in their countrys governing body is the integrity and fairness of their judicial system. All citizens of a country trust that their judicial system will guarantee the decency of crime and punishment (Greer 111). For instance, in the United States, this guarantees is on the 8th amendment. However, if torture is made acceptable in any form for any situation, it would mean that the citizens would no longer feel safe to deal with the judicial system. This situation would be worse in the case of an innocent person that through some mishap in the investigate process cannot prove his or her innocence. Such an individual would have to endure severe physical and psychological damage before their innocence is proven. Subsequently, to put a stop to the torture, the innocent person would have to come up with narratives that he or she thinks the interrogators will deem valid to stop the torture.

Another major reason why torture should not be acceptable n any circumstance is because if it is accepted as an interrogation technique, with time, it will be practiced for all sorts of reasons and not necessarily to acquire vital information. Proponents of legalizing torture camping for its use only in specific conditions, such as the ticking time bomb scenario as mentioned above. However, as stated by Christopher, such people are not aware that by accepting torture at all, regardless of the situation, torture will gradually become a norm in our society, and in no time people will start torturing people even for recreational purposes (Christopher 17). This assumption is in line with Benjamin, Jr. investigation of right wing authoritarianism and their impacts on the attitudes towards torture; if the government normalizes the practices of torture, people will not perceive it as an inhumane practice.

Overall, there have been supposedly sound arguments for the use of torture in specific situations, such as those that characterized by a positive end would justify an inhumane means. However, torture can never be accepted as it has no guarantee of being effective thus producing valid information. Even in the present day, illegal torture practices have not provided any adequate information on any terrorist event. Rather the use of torture seems to inspire more people towards such radical ideologies. In addition, the acceptance of torture runs the risk of promoting the torture culture whereby torture will be viewed as any other interrogation technique without regarding its destructive nature to the human condition.

Works Cited

Benjamin, Jr., Arlin James. "Right-Wing Authoritarianism And Attitudes Toward Torture." Social Behavior And Personality 44.6 (2016): 881-888. Print.

Christopher, Horwood. "Can torture ever be justified to obtain essential information in the context of an imminent threat to national security?" The BSIS Journal of International Studies Vol 6 (2009): 1-24. Print.

Greer, Steven. "Is the Prohibition against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment Really Absolutein International Human Rights Law?" Human Rights Law Review 15.1 (2015): 101-137. Print.

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