Another Necessary Evil: A Justification of Torture

Essay by incubusfanclmUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2009

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The Bill of Rights, which is the core of many people's moral values and even their day-to-day actions, secures for every person equal rights to the "pursuit of life, liberty, and prosperity." The same document that this Bill of Rights is a part of - the Constitution - aims to ensure that these rights will never be denied to any person. Similarly, though torture would seem morally unjustifiable in all cases, a broader perspective of the world renders this stance flawed. Just as the bill of rights is a part of, and protected by, the constitution, torture is essential to protecting freedom, civil rights, and innocent lives. It would seem, then, that in cases in which civilian deaths can be avoided by bending the civil rights of people who are trying to destroy freedom, torture must be employed.

The killing of innocent civilians is not only cruel, brutal, and disgusting, but it is also renounced by the international community, whether during a time of war or not.

If there were ever a chance, then, that this could be avoided by torturing the people who plan to carry out such an attack, then this chance should not be lost. For example, if a terrorist who plans to kill many, many civilians with a nuclear bomb is caught and refuses to divulge the details of the attack, torture must be used to extract this information. In such a scenario, the lives of many innocents far outweigh the civil rights of one insurgent. Unmistakably, no person can deny that "the lives of many innocents must be saved even at the price of hurting the one who endangers them" (Levin 809). It is undeniable that in instances where civilians and citizens are at risk of attack, and that attack can be prevented by extorting...