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King112

Is torture something that can be justified?

OK, so first up, I know this is controversial, and I have no intention of trying to cause problems. I apologise upfront if this offends anyone.

 

So, a few days ago, I see this on the web.

http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/24642

 

SAS war Vet, Andy McNab states his support for the use of torture. In my opinion, I feel that torture is justified if used upon terrorists or people who threaten your country. While I disagree with unnecessary violence, I have to say that torturing a spy/terrorist to protect your country and its interests is justified. 

A argument may be that the information is wrong, however, as McNab states in another interview, swift, sharp torture normally leads to correct information.

But this is just my opinion, and I would like to know more.

Once again, apologies if this topic offends you,

King112

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I think discussion of torture always ends in the same conclusion. 

 

People think torture and unnecessary violence are bad, however if there is a threat to your country it is justifiable. (Though, forget about the OUTRAGE if an enemy nation tortures one of your country's spies)

 

People always have a vested interest in their own security and protection, and are very willing to turn a blind eye to ethical misconduct in achieving that. 

 

What I find problematic with torture is the very vague description of a threat or terrorism, I mean just look at the Patriot Act in the U.S. Complete surveillance over data, justifiable of course in the name of 'national security'. The government of any nation has a significant amount of power, and can easily 'justify' torture and illegal action, because people take 'national security' very seriously and daren't question it. 

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Definitely too much evil is done in the name of "security". I don't think violence is ever justified, and this is why:

If a country uses torture against "terrorists" then in what way is this country morally better than these terrorists? In this case a terrorist country would fight a terrorist group, both use the same methods and there is no right or wrong side of the conflict.

 

Also torture is no way to solve any conflicts. If a tortured person is released afterwards, all that's left in them is hate against people who've done it to them and a powerfull need of revenge. Or, if they're killed as a result of tortures, they can be considered martyrs by their group and placed as examples of fighters for their case So we may solve short-term problems giving us the elusive feeling of security for a few weeks, maybe even months, but in the long run, we're building up the attitude of others against us, thus pushing ourselves towards another conflict, even harder to solve.

 

Another thing is that everybody using torture will find a justification for what they're doing - it's rather rare that it's done for no reason and it's morally doubious to diferentiate between good and bad reasons to torture people. For instance, if we say that torturing people for information regarding our security is right (because they are bad and we need to protect the good), then why shouldn't we torture people as a routine punishment (they've done something bad as well, they deserve it). Or should the law state: "we're against torture, so don't torture our citizens, but we will do this when we think we have to"? This would be somewhat... unfair.

 

And the efficiency of torture has nothing to do with its moral justification, because in this case we'd have to consider a whole range of immoral acts as being potentially justified. For example theft or murder could be justified as an effective means to protect the interest of a corporation against its competition - it's quite the same scale considering how important decisions, including those ethical the business makes these days.

 

Members of the special forces are often taught not to consider their enemies as humans - only "targets", "information sources", "civilians" etc. - because otherwise they could have some moral doubt, which could affect their effectiveness in action, and therefore it's understandable that from their point of view completing the mission is way more important than any moral issues that could occure during it. Plus, since they're used to see and experience violence, they will always be more inclined to use such methods whenever they see it as useful.

 

Lastly, the definition of the interest in the name of which one should be tortured is somewhat vague. Consider the case of a totalitarian state which decides to torture political opponents. According to the state it's totally justified, because the opponents could be referred to as terrorists and are dangerous to the stability of the state. But all the tortured one was guilty of was that they didn't like the system in their own country. Who is right here? So the interest of the state may not always be the same as the interest of its citizens. (I don't want to repeat the example that OMGIBUSFUN gave, but it would be equally suitable here)

 

Therefore I think that violence in general and torture in particular is never morally justified, and attempts to justify it can only lead to hipocrisy and double standards we can see in so many of world leaders today (as wel as in the past). Of course we all vary in our levels of empathy and this may be a reason for our different views on the use of violence. That's why it's only my opinion and I'm not trying to push it as the only right view.

Edited by Slovakov
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I don't think its justified. Overally too as we live in such a developed world we should solve our problems by diplomacy rather than spying and fighting.

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I don't think it is justified simply because it is incredibly ineffective and, in my opinion, immoral. 

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I don't think it is justified simply because it is incredibly ineffective and, in my opinion, immoral. 

Well, ineffective can be debated.

Frankly, if I castrate you with no anesthetic, or rip out your eyeballs, or something, no matter how well trained you are, you will eventually break. The human body/mind has limitations. 

So I think it can be justified for national security because at the end of the day, the security of your country/people comes first.

Just my opinion.

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I don't really know to be honest, I mean torture is quite cruel and Inhumane. I mean doesn't torturing a terrorist put you down on their level? You know the saying: 

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster

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It depends on the reason for the torture. Many people here are saying "if it is used against a terrorist," but what defines a terrorist?? to the Taliban they were freedom fighters, to America they are terrorists. However in Syria America is the terrorist. Torture is not something we can just say "okay, we will allow it" because it can not be controlled. If i want to know where my my wallet is, that some kid has just stolen, and i punch him in the stomach, so he tells me where it is, is that the same as an American soldier waterboarding a 50 year old man in Iraq, so they can find some guns. 

 

The three problems with this discussion is this:

Who should torture be used on?

What severity of torture should be used?

and finally, Who dictates when torture should be used?

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