Is Torture Ever Ok?

Topics: Morality, Torture, Human rights Pages: 6 (2212 words) Published: October 17, 2012
Thomas Erb

Is Torture Ever Ok?
As a I discussed in my third essay, there are many disputes between people on whether or not torture should ever be allowed. I am writing my opinion on this heated issue and explaining why torture should be allowed under extreme circumstances. Extreme instances that should allocate torture are: times of war, a terrorist attack, or high profile criminal activity. If lives are at stake in these circumstances than I believe torturing someone is permissible. Torturing can be a way of defending those people, but should be the last option. A lot of times in these scenarios there are no other options and torturing someone is the only way to get fast results before it is too late. I am a utilitarian thinker and I believe in the greatest good for the most people. If a lot of people's lives are at stake in a situation and can be saved because of one criminal's pain then torturing is the way to go. I believe that torture can be morally justified in many extreme circumstances and by regulating torture by law then it could benefit our society.

My first argument will show how torture can be used to help stop a bank robber who has many hostages. Suppose, the authorities arrested one of the conspirators of the bank robber and they weren't getting anything out of him. The bank robber told the authorities that if they didn't get him a plane out of the country then he would start killing hostages. The authorities don't know where the bank robber is or the hostages. The bank robber says they only have fifteen minutes to arrange him a plane before he starts killing the hostages. The authorities could torture the conspirators and get the information they need to save the hostages and arrest the bank robber or they could let the hostages die. This is why in my opinion torture is morally justified in this situation.

The first argument I used shows a real example of how torturing can save people lives, arrest a criminal, and prevent more people from dying in the short and long run. A stakeholder from my last paper, Mirko Bagaric, agree with me. Bagaric is a professor of law at Deakin University and according to him, "torture is justifiable when used as an information gathering technique to avert great risk" (Bagaric, p. 264). In my example, it obviously agrees with Bagaric's statement. There are many variables that go into whether or not torturing someone in a severe situation is permissible. Bagaric wrote a list of these variables: "1.the number of lives at risk; 2. the immediacy of the harm; 3. the availability of other means to acquire the information; 4. the level of wrongdoing of the agent; and 5. the likelihood that the agent actually does process the relevant information." I believe that if these were the five rules in a law that regulated torture so we could set a compromise with people who think torture should never happen. The biggest reason I believe torturing is ok in harm-based situations is because it is our moral duty to save other people's lives. In my opinion, some moral duties override others. The moral duty to save thousands of people overrides the moral duty to respect someone's physical body, who is holding information from you because they want all those people to die. Everyone must agree that the most basic and important human right is the right to life. If you have a chance to save thousands of lives and torturing is your only option then the choice is obvious. Torturing must be ok in some circumstances, in order to save lives. I am not saying that people should torture a person to death because that violates their right to live. But, if the torture only causes some physical pain to one person to save many lives then torture should be morally and legally permissible. In Heinz site, whenever torturing someone there should always be a doctor there to make sure the person being tortured isn't killed. I do not think torturing is always ok and it should...

Cited: "A New Muslim Statement Against Torture | Religion Dispatches." ReligionDispatches. 08 Apr.
Bagaric, Mirko. "Is Torture Ever Justified?" Taking Sides. Stephan A. Satris. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc, 2010. 266-274.
Boss, Judith. "Utilitarianism." Ethics For Life. Comp. Laserwords Private Limited. New York. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2011. 268-270.
Cox, John (n.d.)
Cohn, Marjorie. (2005, April 8). Torture of Prisoners in U.S. Custody. Marjorie Cohn. Retrieved
March 31, 2012, from custody.html
Devine, Philip. Is Torture Ever Justified?" Taking Sides. Stephan A. Satris. New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc, 2010
Satris, Stephen. "Is Torture Ever Justified?" Taking Sides Clashing Views on Moral Issues. Comp. MPS Limited. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2012. 264-287.
"Six Arguments against Torture « the Human Province." The Human Province
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