Torture: The Abuse of Violence

Essay by zickzhouCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2006

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The legality of using torture as punishment has been historically controversial. Today, some people see torture as an efficient form of punishment; they believe it is especially necessary in the treatment of terrorist captives or prisoners for the purpose of extracting information. Some writers such as Michael Levin even intentionally make up fake scenarios to exaggerate the advantages of torture, claiming that it is danger free, low cost and useful for obtaining fast response (407-409). However, after carefully thinking through the arguments used by many torture supporters, one will conclude that the arguments of torture supporters are fallacious. Writers who support torture show less logic, but rather indignation to viciousness. The use of torture as a form of punishment should be prohibited because contrary to the arguments of torture supporters, it does not serve a purpose, is against international law, and will only perpetuate hatred and retaliation.

Many people insist torture is efficient in some extremely distinct situations, of which the good and bad are as obvious as a Hollywood movie describes, the occurrence of this kind of absolute terrorism event such as September 11th tragedy is rare.

Moreover, the information provided by a tortured victim is unpredictable and unreliable. Assume there is a case that perfectly matches the conditions a torture supporter desires. One of the terrorists has been seized and tortured. Under torture, the terrorist gave the some information. Very likely, the information that he had provided was useless, for he knew little about the whole terrorist operation and simply obeyed orders to carry out acts of terrorism. Moreover, a victim will confess to anything under torture. The Syrian-Canadian Maher Arar claims that he decided to confess to anything Syrian government want in order to stop the torture (Arar); similarly, William Sampson admitted to crimes he did not...