Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind with the consent of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
According to Human Rights Watch in the following countries: China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, and Uzbekistan have documented the use of torture in two thousand and four and two thousand and five. In a recent poll Fifty Three percent of Americans believe that all torture should be abolished, with thirty one percent of those polled believing it should be allowed but with limits, and seven percent of those polled believing it should be allowed without limits.
In a world full of lies and vulgarity, where people are capable of things so inhuman, torturing should not be allowed. Torture is often used to punish, to obtain information or a confession, to take revenge on a person or persons or create terror and fear within a population. Some of the most common methods of physical torture include beating, electric shocks, stretching, submersion, suffocation, burns, rape and sexual assault.
Psychological forms of torture and ill-treatment, which very often have the most long-lasting consequences for victims, commonly include: isolation, threats, humiliation, mock executions, mock amputations, and witnessing the torture of others. The use Lopez 2 of torture is dishonorable. It corrupts and degrades the state which uses it and the legal system which accepts it (Hoffman). Some societies have used torture to suppress independent thought and convert people to ‘right-thinking’. The individual is tortured until they abandon their own views and beliefs and adopt those of the torturers.
The victim ceases to be an ‘end in themselves’ but becomes just another means to support the regime of the torturer. Many people believe that it should not be legal for regular purposes, such as investigating domestic crimes, but for international security and our protection from extremists, they also believe that there are times when it will be necessary to act in otherwise distasteful ways. Many think it could be the only way we have to obtain information, because we all “know” that if we were in some other country, they would do it to us also.
They believe that there are some cases between life and death, and continuing or ending a war, that choosing torture or no torture would dictate. However, this argument is invalid because anyone being tortured can lie about what they are stating in order to stop the torture from continuing. Torture is an ineffective interrogation tool because it may produce false information since under torture a prisoner will eventually say anything to stop the pain – regardless of whether it is true. In which case, because of this the interrogator can never be ‘sure’ that they are getting the truth and will never know when to stop.
Any form of torture or cruel and unusual punishment should never be legal, in any situation. It is no one’s given right to purposely neither physically nor emotionally hurt another being. For one, a suspect is just that: a suspect. A suspect is a person thought to be guilty of a crime or offense, but without certain exact proof. For all the authorities know, the person being subjected to torture and abuse could very well be innocent. Humans are not infallible and Lopez 3 somewhere down the line, innocent people will be physically and mentally abused, and possibly permanently injured or killed (Thomas).
Even people who have been proved to be guilty of a crime should not be tortured, as it goes against all morals and human rights. When an abuser tortures someone, the abuser becomes a criminal themselves. Even when people call it “enhanced interrogation”, this is just the politically correct term for torture (Kirk). Even if torture was legal, it has been proven that torture is very ineffective in producing information, and often results in suspects making false statements in order to stop their torture. It is easy to say that torture should be allowed when people remain ignorant and unexposed to the subject and how it works.
Torture is no joke and is extremely brutal, for many people it remains adhered in their minds forever. For example, in the case of Abu Omar, he was, as he describes, spreading his arms in a crucifixion position, he was tied to a metal door as shocks were administered to his nipples and genitals. His legs still tremble as he describes how he was twice raped. He mentions, almost casually, the hearing loss in his left ear from the beatings, and how he still wakes up at night screaming, takes tranquilizers, finds it hard to concentrate, and has unspecified problems with his wife at home. He is, in short, a broken man (Bergen).
Omar was an innocent man, though to be involved in terrorism, sent from the United States of America into Egypt to get tortured, since it would be “illegal” to do it in the US. In the fall of 2003, Abu Omar was taken to another prison; it was here that he was crucified and raped by the guards. After seven more months of torture, a Cairo court found there was no evidence that Abu Omar was involved in terrorism and ordered him freed. He was told not to contact anyone in Italy—including his wife—and not to speak to the press or human rights groups. Lopez 4 Above all, he was not to tell anyone what had happened.
Like Omar, there are many more out there living with this penalty that they don’t deserve. “I believe strongly that torture is not moral, legal or effective. ” Guantanamo is “a damaging symbol to the world… a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment and harmful to our national security, so closing it is important for our national security. ” Admiral Dennis Blair, from the Witness against torture committee stated when asked about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States military located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
These committees exist in order to protect the rights of all of the innocent people like Abu Omar and exist within the United States with plenty of supporters all around. Ultimately, I believe torture should not be legal. Torture is a notoriously ineffective method of eliciting valid information, and the use of torture demeans the torturer even more than it punishes the victim of that abuse. Endorsing the use of torture by the State only gives it the stamp of validity and makes it more likely that innocents will suffer the infliction of torture – including those we seek to protect through its implementation (Berkowitz).
It dehumanizes people by treating them as pawns to be manipulated through their pain, it treats the victim as a ‘thing’, not as a person with all the value that we associate with persons, and it violates the rights and human dignity of the victim, including the legal right to remain silent when questioned. Torture is an inhuman and ineffective means of gaining information. Lopez 5 Works cited Berkowitz, Roger. “Why We Must Judge. ” Democracy. Fall 2010: 56. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Apr 2013. Bergen, Peter. “The Body Snatchers. ” Mother Jones Vol. 33, No. 2. Mar/Apr 2008: 58-61.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 23 May 2013. Kirk, Robin. “The Body in Pain. ” Sojourners. Jul 2011: 22. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Apr 2013 McCarthy, Andrew C. “Torture: Thinking About the Unthinkable. ” Commentary. July/Aug. 2004: 17. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Apr 2013. Sands, Philippe. “The Green Light. ” Vanity Fair No. 573. May 2008: 218+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Apr 2013. Thomas, Dorothy Q. , and others. “Bringing Human Rights Home: Into the Bright Sunshine. ” American Prospect Vol. 15, No. 10. Oct. 2004: A1+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Apr 2013.