Torture Is An Evil So Profound That Nothing Could Morally Justify Its Use

3542 words - 15 pages

“Torture is an evil so profound that nothing could morally justify its use”. Discuss.

This essay will discuss issues relating to torture and investigate the proponents for torture and their arguments for justifying torture in a range of circumstances as against my argument that in no event or case can torture be allowed to occur against a human being as it is profoundly morally wrong and nothing in my mind could justify its use. I will discuss the certain circumstances are in which torture is ok, as described by those who advocate for its use, and then those who agree with me that torture is an evil and moral wrong. My argument for why torture is wrong rests on two ...view middle of the document...

The use of the word ‘evil’ suggests for me the moral and ethical challenges of our spirituality which is part of our humanity. How can we ignore our fellow human beings as spiritual beings and the spiritual laws by which many of us live, not to deny or ignore that often our opponents have similar spiritual laws which in times of war or terror we all conveniently put aside. This essay will elucidate these arguments and discuss the moral issues involved in torture.
What is Torture – A Definition?
Torture, in the Encyclopedia of Ethics is defined as ‘the deliberate infliction of violence, and through violence, severe mental and /or physical suffering upon individuals. It may be inflicted by individuals or groups and for diverse ends ranging from extracting information, confession, admission of culpability or liability and self incrimination to general persuasion, intimidation, and amusement.”
By definition then, torture is the action of one human being (or a group of human beings) against another (or a group) using a range of violent intimidatory methods to extract information, gain a confession, intimidate another person, using force or violence which inflicts pain or suffering on the other and as a result may produce traumatic effects on that person or group of persons.
The Third Geneva Convention of 1949 is the benchmark used in war, which delineates acceptable practices of torture (confinement and interrogation). Even though this convention exists it appears that its rules are readily bent by those engaged in war or the fight against terror as I found in the literature. For example, although torture is illegal in the United States of America and no agency of the USA can legally engage in torture a range of methods not considered torture are often used as they maintain that these methods are consistent with the Geneva Convention for the treatment of prisoners. Those methods include: beating of prisoners, the withholding of medical treatment, ‘stress and duress’ techniques like sleep deprivation, hooding, forcing prisoners to stay in difficult positions for hours, placing prisoners in environments which would be psychologically traumatic e.g. putting an Arab person in a situation which looked like an enemy area e.g. Israeli flags flying and so on. While these are ‘unpleasant’ the people involved in these actions maintained that they fell short of torture.
I cannot imagine a situation where the torture of another human being, done deliberately, which inflicts pain and suffering to the degree that this person would be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually traumatised for life, could be justifiable even for preventing a greater action or as a deterrent to future action. However there are those who definitely disagree with me and would argue that in war and in other areas of action globally we are justified to use torture to elicit information for our needs. These advocates for torture also argue that it...

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