We would do well to reflect on Gandhi's remedy for the Holocaust: he believed that the Jews should have committed mass suicide, because this "would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler's violence." Whether or not this is true, his membership in Al Qaeda more or less rules out his "innocence" in any important sense, and his rank in the organization suggests that his knowledge of planned atrocities must be extensive. How to change this sidebar. Fifteen experienced former investigators came up with that statement. By the time officials trying to prevent a catastrophe have realized that information given was false, it may be too late to stop the terror strike. Consequentialist/utilitarians argue that a moral cost-benefit analysis needs to be made, pitting the suffering of the one terrorist under torture against the suffering of so many innocent civilians if the terrorist bomb were to explode. One could argue the arguments for and against utilitarianism. Imagine how we torturers would feel if, after giving this pill to captive terrorists, each lay down for what appeared to be an hour's nap only to arise and immediately confess everything he knows about the workings of his organization. It is only arguing for the use of torture as a tool in extreme circumstances. I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror. I consider several arguments for a Kantian absolutist position concerning torture and explain why none are sound. ©2021 Verizon Media. As the War on Terrorism intensifies, the ticking-bomb argu If your daughter won't tip the scales, then add the daughters of every couple for a thousand miles--millions of little girls have, by some perverse negligence on the part of our government, come under the control of an evil genius who now sits before you in shackles. Argument On Torture. I invite any reader who discovers a problem with my argument to point it out to me in the comment section of this blog. In case you can’t find a sample example, our professional writers are ready to help you with writing Arguments for Torture. Web. For those who make it their business to debate the ethics of torture this is known as the "ticking-bomb" case. The purpose of torture is either to impart revenge or to obtain information or both. Rather than conceal his guilt, he gloats about the forthcoming explosion and the magnitude of human suffering it will cause. I hope my case for torture is wrong, as I would be much happier standing side by side with all the good people who oppose torture categorically. Then where will interrogators be with no source of information to speak of? Rather, it seems obvious that the misapplication of torture should be far less troubling to us than collateral damage: there are, after all, no infants interned at Guantanamo Bay. While many people have objected, on emotional grounds, to my defense of torture, no one has pointed out a flaw in my argument. While pacifism in this form can constitute a direct confrontation with injustice (and requires considerable bravery), it is only applicable to a limited range of human conflicts. The ticking-bomb argument, where a terrorist is tortured in order to extract information of a primed bomb located in a civilian area, is often invoked as one of those extreme circumstances where torture becomes justified. the ‘nuts and bolts’ of moral or legal arguments for or against torture per se. An Argument on Torture. Arguments against Torture. This argument may seem very logical at first glance, but once dissected one can see the many flaws in every part of this argument. Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. Join the Discussion. The “ticking bomb” argument for torture does not allow for the use of torture routinely. And yet, these developments do not shed much light on the ethics of torturing people like Osama bin Laden when we get them in custody. An analogous argument holds that human decision-makers are fundamentally prone in certain situations to believe that their judgment is better than it is, and that, to be ethical, they must pre-commit themselves to a particular course of action in those situations. Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/an-argument-on-torture/, This is just a sample. There, I said it. As a means to obtain information, it is of questionable merit because the victim will tell you anything the torturer wants to hear. No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. Given the damage we were willing to cause to the bodies and minds of innocent children in Afghanistan and Iraq, our disavowal of torture in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed seems perverse. Template tips. Utilitarianist arguments for and against Torture. “Bad Evidence: Not Only Is It Torture, It Doesn’t Work.” Commonweal 12 Sep. 2008: 6. Today is National Voter Registration Day! As a medium of revenge, it is a question of morality or sort of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." There is no reasoning with those facts: torture is wrong. I believe the American advent, the American idea, and the American experience are exceptional: a nation of laws, and not of men and women, a constitutional democracy founded in and devoted to the liberty of its people, a culture and nationality not of ethnicity or spiritual uniformity, but of the … An argument made apparent by Andrew Coyne is the idea that someone being tortured will say anything to relieve the pain, even the truth (Coyne, 34). Conclusion. This anti-torture argument, in fact, works by positing that human knowledge has intrinsic limits. “Where to Draw the Line?” Maclean’s 14 Sep. 2009: 34+. Where it is not applicable, it is seems flagrantly immoral. According to Michael Levin’s article, “The Case for Torture,” his view on torture is that there are many situations in which torture would be against the law but would be obligatory for someone’s conscious. Finally, I test the argument against a real case. our expert writers, Please indicate where to send you the sample, Hi, my name is Jenn Water-boarding clearly counts as torture by the second definition, perhaps the issue isn't clear given the first definition. Messerli, Joe. This essay has addressed main arguments for the support of torture. [1] Yet abundant evidence indicates that it does, directly or by proxy—and in fact always has. No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. Many in favor of torture tactics believe that it is necessary to use torture to extract information from a subject. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! Blog. What is the difference between pursuing a course of action where we run the risk of inadvertently subjecting some innocent men to torture, and pursuing one in which we will inadvertently kill far greater numbers of innocent men, women, and children? The Nature of Terrorists. Get Your Custom Essay on, By clicking “Write my paper”, you agree to our, By clicking Send Me The Sample you agree on the, https://graduateway.com/an-argument-on-torture/, Get your custom com defines torture as “the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty. Join Our Discussion. Here is a character who actually seems to have stepped out of a philosopher's thought experiment. 2007. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. What would happen if interrogators tortured an innocent person to no avail? I have already expressed my views with regard to Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. As a foreign policy, this would leave us with something like the absolute pacifism of Gandhi. Throughout this author’s time in research and study, there has yet been a reported case found of which a real life scenario of a “ticking bomb” incident has actually occurred. Why let torture happen, if the reason for torture never happens? This chapter provides arguments for a minimal absolutist prohibition on torture. We can be sure that he would have killed many more women and girls by dropping bombs from pristine heights, and they are likely to have died equally horrible deaths, but his culpability would not appear the same. He now sits in your custody. And it will remain unavoidable for the foreseeable future. It is not a successful means of obtaining information or saving lives. How is one to know whether or not the information received through torture is reliable or not? Make these confessions as unreliable as you like--the chance that our interests will be advanced in any instance of torture need only equal the chance of such occasioned by the dropping of a single bomb. I will now present an argument for the use of torture in rare circumstances. The authors in the book have no interest in debating why exactly torture is so terrible and is rejected by all civilised persons. NOTE: Please see my most recent thoughts on this and other controversial subjects here: Response to Controversy. Exploding the "Ticking Bomb" Argument. Assuming that we want to maintain a coherent ethical position on these matters, this appears to be a circumstance of forced choice: if we are willing to drop bombs, or even risk that rifle rounds might go astray, we should be willing to torture a certain class of criminal suspects and military prisoners; if we are unwilling to torture, we should be unwilling to wage modern war. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. The ethical divide that seems to be opening up here suggests that those who are willing to drop bombs might want to abduct the nearest and dearest of suspected terrorists--their wives, mothers, and daughters--and torture them as well, assuming anything profitable to our side might come of it. The action of the pill would be to produce transitory paralysis and transitory misery of a kind that no human being would willingly submit to a second time. The “ticking bomb” argument is the idea that in the case that there is a limited amount of time to stop a terrorist attack and the terrorist is in custody; officials should be allowed to torture vital information about the terror strike from the captive. The only way to rule out collateral damage would be to refuse to fight wars under any circumstances. While the most realistic version of the ticking bomb case may not persuade everyone that torture is ethically acceptable, adding further embellishments seems to awaken the Grand Inquisitor in most of us. Hi - I know most people are against the use of torture, but was wondering if anyone can give me ideas for a debate in which I must ignore in favour of t The logic of every justification of torture is that it offers a foolproof solution to an impossible problem: lack of knowledge. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture come up with. Many rulers used torture to gain insight into their enemies movements and plans and used … Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. In this context, we should note that many variables influence our feelings about an act of physical violence. Video conferencing best practices: Tips to make meeting online even better It is an argument that challenges the notion that torture is morally … Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. The terrorist just might send officials on a wild goose chase. Torture not only is counterproductive in saving lives but effective in destroying a human being. In the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, this is not a comfortable position to have publicly adopted. So we can now ask, if we are willing to act in a way that guarantees the misery and death of some considerable number of innocent children, why spare the rod with known terrorists? For the sake of argument, imagine the right person is obtained. Most readers will undoubtedly feel at this point that torture is evil and that we are wise not to practice it. The philosopher Jonathan Glover points out that "in modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful." Sitemap. Torture is sometimes used to destroy the autonomy of the victim some societies have used torture to suppress independent thought and convert people to 'right-thinking'. This position is taken as given even though there are many puzzling moral and philosophical points to contemplate on this topic. The so-called ticking bomb is invoked by philosophers and lawyers trying to justify, on behalf of their political masters, the use of torture in extremis. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Kavenly, Cathleen. Logically, once anti-absolutism is rejected, torture must be prohibited absolutely, as it contains the worst acts one person can possibly inflict on another. One sinful man will be hurt and a city full of people will be saved. Every piece of information that led accusers to another “witch” was false and only was obtained because of the fear inflicted by torture. To demonstrate just how abstract the torments of the tortured can be made to seem, we need only imagine an ideal "torture pill"--a drug that would deliver both the instruments of torture and the instrument of their concealment. It is safe to say that no reliable information would be obtained and second, this act could severely damage the innocent person physically and mentally. In supplement to the already great argument, he provides potential counter-arguments and proves why they are invalid. Opponents of torture will be quick to argue that confessions elicited by torture are notoriously unreliable. Many of their arguments only work in very specific situations that may never happen. We might wonder what a world full of pacifists would have done once it had grown "aroused"--commit suicide as well? Can torture ever be justify? It has also been said that “torture destroys the soul of the torturer even as it destroys the body of his victim” (Schell, 8). An old American tradition of state-sponsored torture even has its own lexicon: SOA, Kubark, Phoenix, MK-Ultra, rendition, CIA's "no-touch" paradigm, etc. Which way should the balance swing? After all of the trials the state of Massachusetts apologized to the people for all of the horrors that had occurred. Almost every dictionary gives two definitions of torture: a narrow one… inflicting great pain. History has already proved through the Salem witch trials that torture can cause many deaths of innocent people. Gushee, David P. “5 Reasons Torture is Always Wrong: And Why There Should Be No Acceptions.” Christianity Today 1 Mar. Levin gives great arguments for the use of torture through clever wording and great exemplification. Weaver, Andrew J., Carolyn L. Stapleton. It had to be pretty slim. Even if we can't quite muster a retort to the ticking bomb case, most of us take refuge in the fact that the paradigmatic case will almost never arise. Kavenly also states her own opinion that evidence obtained by torture is no more reliable than a ghost sighting. This causes a slippery slope that can be very hard not to fall down. Should something as unspeakable as torture be allowed because of situations that most likely will never happen? Coyne, Andrew. Ethical arguments regarding torture is similar to these topics: Ticking time bomb scenario, Torture museum, Torture and the Ticking Bomb and more. Is potentially saving lives more important than the human rights of terrorist? You can get your custom paper from Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. But there seems no question that accidentally torturing an innocent man is better than accidentally blowing him and his children to bits. The argument being developed here is that in a world of terrorism, we are going to have to torture because torture saves lives. If bombs seem too impersonal an evil, picture your seven-year-old daughter being slowly asphyxiated in a warehouse just five minutes away, while the man in your custody holds the keys to her release. If torture had never been used to obtain evidence, it would have saved many lives. Admittedly, this would be a ghastly result to have reached by logical argument, and we will want to find some way of escaping it. Torture is cruel, inhumane, degrading, and destructive. Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. com states torture as “extreme anguish of body or mind; agony. Many agencies claim that torture has been a successful tool in obtaining valuable information and this is used to justify the illegal action the U.S choses to practice. “Should High-ranking Captured Terrorists Be Tortured to Obtain Information?” Balanced Politics 4 Mar. Our casual abuse of ordinary prisoners is largely responsible for this. “Torture.” . Who better to make a truthful statement on the subject than the professionals? David Gushee states that torture violates the dignity of a human being and that it mistreats the vulnerable and violates the demand of justice (Gushee). If our intuition about the wrongness of torture is born of an aversion to how people generally behave while being tortured, we should note that this particular infelicity could be circumvented pharmacologically, because paralytic drugs make it unnecessary for screaming ever to be heard or writhing seen. If there is even one chance in a million that he will tell us something under torture that will lead to the further dismantling of Al Qaeda, it seems that we should use every means at our disposal to get him talking. Enter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: our most valuable capture in our war on terror. Given this state of affairs--in particular, given that there is still time to prevent an imminent atrocity--it seems that subjecting this unpleasant fellow to torture may be justifiable. by Bernard Chazelle . Clearly, the consequences of one person's uncooperativeness can be made so grave, and his malevolence and culpability so transparent, as to stir even a self-hating moral relativist from his dogmatic slumbers. Severe mental anxiety and suffering information to speak of facts: torture is used arguments for torture the intent, use... N'T use plagiarized sources valuable capture in our war on terror maiming and innocent. 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