English Writing 101 28 July 2010 To Torture or Not? After the United States suffered terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001, the well being of our nation would be of great interest to the Bush Administration. Anything and everything has been done to ensure that such an attack that does not occur on American soil ever again. Our military activity in the Middle East allows us to have the opportunity to catch enemy prisoners and the ability to retrieve valuable information in order to end the war on terror.
Some may believe that the use of torture may be the most effective way in obtaining information from enemy prisoners, but how effective is this method? There has been an ongoing argument whether the use of torture should or should not be used in order to obtain information. In John Mcain’s essay Torture’s Terrible Toll, he argues that torture should not be used in order to retain information, while Mirko Babaric’s “A Case for Torture,” explains that torture is applicable in order to save an innocent person’s life.
While both may pose valid arguments, torture is still perceived by society as an irrational way to get the answer you are looking for. With that said, the use of torture by American soldiers on enemy prisoners during a time of war should never be used because it is ineffective, produces unreliable intelligence and a loss of credibility in American democracy. It is said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. In today’s war on terror, you many think that torture may be the most effective way to obtain information’s when enemy prisoners are captured. Torture is defined to be as intense feelings of suffering.
This may probably the worst state of conditioning one can be placed in. When one is being tortured, there first priority is to stop the aggressor from torturing and will say just about anything to end any further physical and psychological damage that he or she is doing. (McCain) Putting that into perspective, there is very little incentive for an Islamic fundamentalist to even tell the truth. They are under the impression that they are doing holy justice and even if death does become the last resort for the captive, he has a preconceived notion that he will enter a land with a thousand virgins.
Telling the truth will only be detrimental to there initial goal of eliminating anything Western. McCain talks about his experience in Vietnam, and how he had abused into telling the names of his flight squadron, but instead gave then the names of Green Bay Packers (McCain). This exemplifies how false information can be perceived as true, because in reality you must take it for what is worth. According to Bagaric, “Torture is permissible where the evidence suggests that this is the only means, due to the immediacy of the situation, to save the life of an innocent person. (Bagaric). Despite this may sound like a justifiable reason to torture someone, to what extent is this effective? Torture is still an inhumane and causes great physical and psychological damage. By allowing exceptions in certain situations, we are only encouraging the use of torture, and in the future may be subjective to one’s belief that a particular situation is an extreme case and torture is permissible since, “the other guy did it so why can’t I? ” Many others, including Bargaric, say “we must decide on the best evidence at the time. ” (Bagaric).
This may be logical approach, but torturing is not the way to go about doing so. In Anne Applebaum article from the Washington Post, “The Torture Myth,” Army Col. Stuart Herrington quotes that torture is” not a good way to get information” and many can be persuaded to talk without any cruel and unusual punishments (Applebaum). AppleBaum also makes a good point that once Many must understand that the United States has set an example of how true democracy works. We are viewed by the rest of the world to have the best democratic political system, and we as a nation we set examples for others to mimic.
But by torturing prisoners during a time of war, we fail to sustain the American political values we ultimately fight for. We portray the image that we are better than our enemy when we torture the enemies we captivate. Torture is prohibited by international law, and by allowing torutre to take place with our soldiers, we portray not only to our enemies but to the rest of the world that we are allowed to disregard the law, and do as we please. Col. Stuart Herrington says it does “damage to our country” (Applebaum).
Even though torture may look like an appealing and effective way to succeed in a time of war, one must understand it may not be the best approach. its portrayed to be inhumane and provides a rather negative perspective in society. The success it yields is very minimal and is found to be less effective in numerous studies. Our image and credibility as a nation becomes diminished as we fail to exemplify some the democratic values that we hold by torturing someone. We must stop this inhumane behavior, and must understand that with great power comes great responsibility.