IN EVERY war, information is a weapon. In a “war against terrorism”, where the adversary wears no uniform and hides among the civilian population, information can matter even more. But does that mean that torture can sometimes be justified to extract information?
This age old argument is about weather or not torture is really good or bad, moral or immoral, and is it really working.
There are two obvious sides to this argument, being with or against the use or torture;
- Torture gets information
- Information saves lives
Therefore, Torture saves lives
Now, with that argument torture seems great, its a valid argument and it seems like it would help, we can find and stop terrorism, get the information we need, and put an end to any threats.
27,000 people in 25 countries last October, more than one out of three people in nine of those countries, including America, considered a degree of torture acceptable if it saved lives.
It seems as if torture seems pretty good. People seem to find that if it saves lives, it is indeed worth it, worth the ethical torture to the person torturing, worth the risk of the information being false or a trap. Torture can been seen in two ways though;
- Torture is morally wrong
- Information can be false
Therefore, Torture is useless
They’ll say anything;
If anyone was put under torture, you would say anything just to make the pain stop, true or false, who would be the wiser? Yes torture has its gains being that if someone is hiding within the civilian crowd, we can find that said person before they can cause any damage.
The answer in international law is categorical: no. As laid down in treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ban on torture or any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is absolute, even in times of war. Along with genocide, torture is the only crime that every state must punish, no matter who commits it or where
Truth, Validity, and Soundness?
There is truth to both sides of this argument, being both moral and immoral, that is why this is an argument. Both sides have valid points with or against the use of torture, therefore both the sides to this argument is sound. So I guess what it really comes down to, is personal opinion, because both sides have their facts.Those facts are both proven, that being that torture can be justified because in some cases, torture led to us finding and stopped terrorism. However there are cases that proved to be useless and we just ended up torturing someone for nothing.
Again as the economist says in another article;
On this point he is backed up by John Kiriakou, a former CIA operative who has struggled with the issue. Mr Kiriakou has said that the information gained during Mr Zubaydah’s “enhanced” interrogation “disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks“. The author Mark Bowden also stumbled upon a benefit of torture when writing about the American team that cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle.
With that said, there are still times where it did not work, like in the Guardian;
The report finds that CIA detainees subjected to what were then called “enhanced interrogation techniques” either produced no intelligence, or they “fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence”
So there you have it folks, sometimes it works, and sometimes it produces nothing.