A Case for Torture

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First published in Newsweek, in 1982, "The Case for Torture," by Michael Levin, state that "torture is not merely permissible but morally mandatory" (201). "Michael Levin argues that torture is a mortal necessity in some situations; that torturing a terrorist is the moral thing to do if it prevents "future evils" (201). Levin examines three scenarios to persuade his readers that torture is justified. In the first circumstance, a terrorist has hidden an atomic bomb on Manhattan Island, and instead of revealing where the terrorist hid it, he would rather die than disclose the information. Another occurrence, someone plants a bomb on a jet; and he is the only one who can disarm it. Would you not do whatever it takes to save the innocent passengers? Finally, presume a group of terrorists kidnaped a newborn baby from a hospital. In a poll, four mothers were asked if they approved of torturing the kidnappers if that is what it would take to get their baby back. Absolutely, was their answer; and one said that she would like to be the one doing the torturing (201-202). Levin concludes his essay with "if life is so valuable that it must never be taken, the lives of the innocents must be saved even at the price of hurting the one who endangers them" (202). Torture: unethical of justifiable? What exactly is torture? Torture is any act of physical or psychological pain, intentionally inflicted upon someone. Torture is a moral means of saving lives. Levin's argument is one hundred percent justifiable. Protection of the "rights" of many is always more important than the "rights" of the few. Torture is only permissible in cases where many lives are in jeopardy and there is no other choice. Torture is not tolerable when used as a means of punishment or when used just to seek revenge for past discretions. Taking revenge is a personal action, not something benefitting anyone else. For the sake of saving innocent lives, torture should be legalized. If...
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