Abolishing Torture - Essay Example

Published: 2021-08-15
850 words
4 pages
8 min to read
University of Richmond
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By definition, torture is the officially sanctioned infliction of extreme suffering that is primarily aimed at forcing someone to say or do something against their will. Although the international law states that it is illegal to use torture in any given situation, whatsoever, contentions for and against torture in interrogation methods have ensued. More specifically, following the 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States, a lot of controversies have surrounded the issue of the incorporation of torture in interrogation methods. However, a lot of support for torture interrogation of terrorists and serial killers has merited great concerns, significantly based on the ticking bomb scenario.

Firstly, there is a group of people who consider torture in interrogation methods justifiable and hence necessary. In this regard, these proponents of the act argue that as long as torture is used within legal means. However, the proponents of torture who particularly insist on the propriety of the incorporation of torture especially in special cases such as those involving terrorists and serial killers are possibly not aware of the fact that this gradually makes torture a normalized practice. Besides, arguments in favor of the torture debate contend that the information that is obtained from torturing terrorists is often incredibly time sensitive (Sullivan, 2005). This means that this information is used for various purposes. For instance, when torture is incorporated in the interrogation of terrorists, there are possibilities that relevant information might be given about an attack that could take place in the future. This being said, the government and the military officials can utilize this kind of information in a timely manner to ensure that they are prepared for the attack. In the same vein, proponents argue that torture provides an opportunity to present extra punishment for the terrorists as a result of the death and misery that they have caused on innocent civilians.

On the other hand, there are also those people who believe that the use of torture in interrogation methods is never justified owing to the fact that false testimony can be given under torture. Based on this context, experts argue that torture is both ineffective and impractical. This is primarily attributed to the fact that when torture is applied during interrogation, the information provided is often falsified owing to the fact that the person being tortured does not have an ultimate goal of supplying the correct or the accurate information. Instead, the primary purpose for a majority of them is to merely stop the torture during the interrogation process and hence relieve pain and the stress levels.

Similarly, in the modern day today, torture is rightly seen as both an inhumane and a medieval way of treating human beings, regardless of ones origin, crimes committed or their social status. In this regard, various influential treaties prohibiting the use of torture in interrogation methods have been established. For instance, with reference to article 3:1 (a) of the Geneva Conventions, the use of violence to life and person is considered illegal and cruel. In the same vein, article 5 of The United States Universal Declaration of Human Rights is against torture. This particular treaty stipulates that no individual should be subjected to torture or to cruel, degrading punishment. Thus, based on this context, the use of torture is, therefore, considered unacceptable, on a legislative level.

According to studies, opponents of the application of physical coercion during interrogation methods have repeatedly questioned the validity of torture. This being said, those who argue against the use of torture claim that torture is both unnecessary and ineffective. This premise is primarily attributed to the claim that many other ways can be used to get information from a person and also to prove whether the person is telling the truth or not. According to the 2004 report done on Most Americana Oppose Torture Techniques, an approximate of 63% of Americans consider torture as unacceptable at all costs. However, the remaining 35% argue that torture should only be incorporated in interrogation methods only when other methods fail and the authorities are confident that the suspect could have information that could prevent a future attack from occurring (Pfiffner, 2014).

In conclusion, in the modern world, torture is considered a relic of the distant past. Despite the fact that there are many proponents of the incorporation of torture during interrogation methods, especially in cases involving terrorists and murderers, I am against torture. I believe that it is something barbaric and therefore, should never be acceptable under any circumstances. In my opinion, with the modern day advancement in civilization, considerable emphasis has been made on the value of human beings, owing to the fact that human life is intrinsic. This being said, these arguments lead me to believe that torture is unjustifiable even in extreme cases due to the fact that it is an act that is generally condemned in both the moral, ethical and also legal considerations.


Pfiffner, J. P. (2014). The Efficacy of Coercive Interrogation. Examining Torture, 127-157. Retrieved from http://pfiffner.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Pfiffner_Torture_Efficacy_Ch-6_ET.pdf

Sullivan, A. (2005, December 19). The Abolition Of Torture. Retrieved from https://newrepublic.com/article/64493/the-abolition-torture-0


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