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Torture and Ethics - Essay Example

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Inflicting undue harm or torture to be blunt, to achieve any sort of gain or advantage, is in itself a violation of morality and an individual’s human rights. More so, if such an act originates or is perpetrated or condoned from a freedom and democratic oriented society, it then becomes a clear conflict of interest as well…
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Torture and Ethics
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Download file to see previous pages Hence, even with prisoners, there can be no excuse to place an individual in a situation wherein his / her rights are violated since the act of penalizing someone is nowhere close to the act of overlooking ones basic rights. As early as 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates, in unqualified terms, that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Evans, R, 2005, The Ethics of Torture). In the following year 1949 “the Geneva convention not only stipulated the provision for protection of enemy combatants and civilians but also instruct that unlawful combatants must be “treated with humanity and shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial” (Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 5) (Evans, R, 2005, The Ethics of Torture) . It must be noted that arguments regarding the act of torture that are pro and against it can be presented. “There is an old Jewish joke about two Yeshiva students who go to the rabbi to settle a heated legal dispute over which they have been arguing all day. Max, the first student, offers cogent theoretical and pragmatic arguments that forcefully make his point. The rabbi listens carefully and declares, ‘Max you are surely right!’ Next the second student, Joshua, presents his side with vigor. He makes clear and concise counter-arguments and demonstrates how his position is supported by precedent. He argues with such passion and persuasion that the Rabbi, after listening closely, says, ‘Brilliant arguments Joshua – you are clearly correct!’ After the students leave, the rabbi’s wife, who was listening in on the exchange, says to her husband, ‘Are you crazy? Max and Joshua had conflicting arguments, how can you say both of them are right? When one is right the other must be wrong!’ The rabbi thinks long and hard on this and finally says to his wife, ‘You know what? You too are right!’” (Wijze. S. d., 2005, The Torture Debate in America) Both arguing sides are sure to have valid reasons to support their arguments but what is important that a society understands the moral worth of such an act, the moral duty of every member of the society, as well as result of such an act to society. If a society where to gauge the moral worth of its actions by the consequences that it produces, then the act of torture might be viewed as something acceptable. For instance, torturing a captured alleged terrorist for information that can ultimately lead to the alleviation of terrible events, can be a worthwhile reason to justify the act of torture. Take for example the captured Al-Qaeda members. “the goal of American officials was chiefly to acquire information that could be used to prevent a future terrorist attack. In particular, the capture of high-ranking al-Qaeda members such as Abu Zubaida, Mohamed al-Kahtani, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed raised the possibility that American officials may have custody of individuals with extremely valuable "actionable intelligence," in the lingo of military intelligence officials. Intelligence personnel naturally made it a high priority to get these detainees to talk. Because many suspected militants had proven to be skilled at resisting traditional, noncoercive interrogation techniques such as promises of leniency in exchange for cooperation, American officials sought advice to see whether it would be legally permissible to use certain coercive techniques on "high value" ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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