Morality of torture

It instills a spirit of revenge in its victims. So is it entirely fanciful that there could be such an attack and that an Al Qaeda operative known on the basis of intercepted communications to be a member of the cell involved in the planned attack might not be arrested, interrogated and tortured.

For the protection of the rights of citizens not to be tortured is likely to be significantly reduced if there is a legal justification for torture available to members of security agencies. Torture as a means of interrogation may result in false statements, for a person under torture is likely to say anything to lessen the pain.

Torture is a Moral Issue: a study guide

The question is whether or not as individuals they would initially tolerate, and finally accept, the practice of torture, if it were legally and institutionally established; the suggestion is that the historical and comparative evidence is that they would, including in liberal democracies.

So what can be said of the likely institutional fit between military, police, and correctional institutions on the one hand, and the sub-institution of torture on the other. Accordingly, the assumption is that the routine use of torture is not morally justified; so if it turned out that the routine use of torture was necessary to, say, win the war on terrorism, then some of what is said here would not be to the point.

This is entirely consistent with the excesses detailed by Luban and Waldron in the US military detention centres in Iraq and elsewhere, e. Is it morally permissible to torture a suspected terrorist who is a woman in an attempt to gain information that may save American lives.

If it does it will kill thousands and make a large part of the city uninhabitable for decades. Perhaps the terrorist could negotiate the cessation of torture and immunity for himself, if he talks.

The wording of the warrant shows some concerns for humanitarian considerations, the severity of the methods of interrogation were to be increased gradually until the interrogators were sure that Fawkes had told all he knew.

Were the terrorist to do what he ought to do, namely, disclose the location of the ticking bomb, the police could refrain from torturing him. And even in relation to desired checkable information there is often the problem of knowing whether or not the victim of torture is holding out or does not really know; this is especially the case with hardened terrorists.

On the moral wrongness of torture as compared to killing, the following points can be made. Consider also a situation in which both a hostage and his torturer know that it is only a matter of an hour before the police arrive, free the hostage and arrest the torturer; perhaps the hostage is a defence official who is refusing to disclose the whereabouts of important military documents and who is strengthened in his resolve by this knowledge of the limited duration of the pain being inflicted upon him.

By this time torture was not routine in England and a special warrant from King James I was needed before he could be tortured.

Is Torture Ever Moral?

In such circumstances, it has been argued, that not to use torture would be wrong, and by others that using torture would change society in a manner which would be worse. It is better to legalise alcohol, because then it can be contained and controlled.

Arguably, both examples are realistic, albeit the terrorist ticking bomb scenario is often claimed by moral absolutists to be utterly fanciful. Yes, the crimes of terrorists are many. Her three year old son, quiet at last, snuffled in his sleep on the back seat.

Given the inherent vagueness of the notion of lesser evil, there is the potential in their adjudications for judges to favour the members of security agencies at the expense of ordinary citizens.

A second point pertains to the powerlessness of the victims of torture. Now consider prisons in liberal democracies. They are also cautioned in the New Testament not to do evil that good may come Romans 3:. -- First, that torture is a moral issue, one that deserves to be understood and addressed by Christians.

-- Second, that an atmosphere of fear and desperation within society opens the door to the torture and abuse of prisoners, but that there is much Christians can do to help create a new atmosphere within society – an atmosphere in which.

On the other hand, the greater the moral weight that is given to the principle of refraining from torture, the less plausible the narrowly moral claims of the practical absolutist become – indeed, at the limit the practical absolutist becomes a.

The Moral Debate About Torture May 1, In the ongoing national debate about the morality of torture, the question is whether it is ever the lesser evil.

Killing is never moral. That is the whole point of asking for forgiveness. Expediency does nothing to alter this fact. Torture is never moral. A doctor inflicting pain to save a life has. Every moral code shares some basic similarities: it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder — and torture.

The current debate over the morality of the U.S. government engaging in torture has revealed many Americans who profess to adhere to a moral code to be hypocrites. ends-justify-the-means rationale of terrorism. By contrast, a society that rejects torture affirms the essential dignity and humanity of each individual (xiii).

Torture is morally unjustified, therefore, because it “dehumanizes people by treating them as pawns to be manipulated through their pain” (xii).

Morality of torture
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The Morality of Torture - LewRockwell