An Argument on Torture

Topics: Salem witch trials, Torture, Ticking time bomb scenario Pages: 3 (1067 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Simply Wrong 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.” A second definition at states torture as “extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.” Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture come up with. Many of their arguments only work in very specific situations that may never happen. Should something as unspeakable as torture be allowed because of situations that most likely will never happen? 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. This argument may seem very logical at first glance, but once dissected one can see the many flaws in every part of this argument. First, the interrogators must have the right person in order to get any information about this alleged terror strike. What would happen if interrogators tortured an innocent person to no avail? 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. For the sake of argument, imagine the right person is obtained. 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). How is one to know whether or not the information received through torture is reliable or not? The terrorist just might send officials on a wild goose chase. What incentive does cruelty give than to be counterproductive and not cooperate? By the time officials trying to prevent...

Cited: Coyne, Andrew. “Where to Draw the Line?” Maclean’s 14 Sep. 2009: 34+.
Gushee, David P. “5 Reasons Torture is Always Wrong: And Why There Should Be No Acceptions.” Christianity Today 1 Mar. 2006. Web. 2 Nov. 2009.
Kavenly, Cathleen. “Bad Evidence: Not Only Is It Torture, It Doesn’t Work.” Commonweal 12 Sep. 2008: 6.
Messerli, Joe. “Should High-ranking Captured Terrorists Be Tortured to Obtain Information?” Balanced Politics 4 Mar. 2007. Web. 1 Nov.2009.
Schell, Jonathan. “What is Wrong With Torture?” Nation 280.5 (2005): 8.
“Torture.” <>
Weaver, Andrew J., Carolyn L. Stapleton. “The Church Can Help Survivors of Torture.” News Network 26.1 (2006): 14+.
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