Torture and Ethics

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Law Pages: 4 (1450 words) Published: April 21, 2013
Torture and Ethics
Bradley Sexton
April 13, 2013
University of Phoenix
AJS 512
Dr. Miron Gilbert

Torture and Ethics
The torturing of human life always has been and always will be unethical, immoral, unjust, and wrong. Torturing enemy combatants or high-value targets does violate standards of morality in the free world. In addition to violating international laws against such practices, torture violates every basic human right. Torture is a form of cruel and unusual punishment by any standard regardless of the end result. Torture of one individual is only justifiable by saving the lives of the many, but that does not make it moral or right. The only ethical theory that justifies torture as moral acceptable is the utilitarianism view. This view should remain in the dark ages where it belongs because it is not an example of the moral standards that exit today. For some people, the thought of torturing one person to save the lives of many sounds like the right idea. The problem with torture is the end result is not guaranteed. Under extreme measures people will say whatever it takes to stop the pain. Torturing lowers the moral standards of the people performing the act to the same standards they are fighting against. In the long run this only fuels the enemy's commitment to their cause and makes them stronger. An enemy combatant who is considering volunteering information will not come forward if he or she thinks there is a possibility of torture on the other side. Although it is true that other countries have already used torture on American people, future prisoners of war may receive even worse treatment if the enemy knows their prisoners are undergoing torture. The use of cruel and unusual punishment during interrogation violates human rights and makes any evidence obtained unusable in a court of law. The government and the criminal justice system must observe and follow the same laws they expect society to follow. Laws apply to everyone equally in...

References: Driver, J (2009) "The History of Utilitarianism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.
Himma Kenneth (2009) Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Philosophy of Law Retrieved on 4-14-2013 from
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 Souryal, S. (2007) Ethics in criminal justice: In search of the truth (4th ed.). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Pub./LexisNexis.
Evans, R (2007) The Ethics of Torture, Human Rights and Human Welfare. Retrieved on 4-13-2013 from
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