A lot of times in these scenarios there are no other options and torturing someone is the only way to get fast results before it is too late. I am a utilitarian thinker and I believe in the greatest good for the most people. If a lot of people’s lives are at stake in a situation and can be saved because of one criminal’s pain then torturing is the way to go. I believe that torture can be morally justified in many extreme circumstances and by regulating torture by law then it could benefit our society. My first argument will show how torture can be used to help stop a bank robber who has many hostages.
Suppose, the authorities arrested one of the conspirators of the bank robber and they weren’t getting anything out of him. The bank robber told the authorities that if they didn’t get him a plane out of the country then he would start killing hostages. The authorities don’t know where the bank robber is or the hostages. The bank robber says they only have fifteen minutes to arrange him a plane before he starts killing the hostages. The authorities could torture the conspirators and get the information they need to save the hostages and arrest the bank robber or they could let the hostages die.
This is why in my opinion torture is morally justified in this situation. The first argument I used shows a real example of how torturing can save people lives, arrest a criminal, and prevent more people from dying in the short and long run. A stakeholder from my last paper, Mirko Bagaric, agree with me. Bagaric is a professor of law at Deakin University and according to him, “torture is justifiable when used as an information gathering technique to avert great risk” (Bagaric, p. 264). In my example, it obviously agrees with Bagaric’s statement.
There are many variables that go into whether or not torturing someone in a severe situation is permissible. Bagaric wrote a list of these variables: “1. the number of lives at risk; 2. the immediacy of the harm; 3. the availability of other means to acquire the information; 4. the level of wrongdoing of the agent; and 5. the likelihood that the agent actually does process the relevant information. ” I believe that if these were the five rules in a law that regulated torture so we could set a compromise with people who think torture should never happen.
The biggest reason I believe torturing is ok in harm-based situations is because it is our moral duty to save other people’s lives. In my opinion, some moral duties override others. The moral duty to save thousands of people overrides the moral duty to respect someone’s physical body, who is holding information from you because they want all those people to die. Everyone must agree that the most basic and important human right is the right to life. If you have a chance to save thousands of lives and torturing is your only option then the choice is obvious. Torturing must be ok in some circumstances, in order to save lives.
I am not saying that people should torture a person to death because that violates their right to live. But, if the torture only causes some physical pain to one person to save many lives then torture should be morally and legally permissible. In Heinz site, whenever torturing someone there should always be a doctor there to make sure the person being tortured isn’t killed. I do not think torturing is always ok and it should always should be the last option, but when worse comes to worse saving thousands of people is worth torturing a person who is ok with those people dying.
People who oppose torture at all times are deontologists. Deontologists believe that general rules and values must be respected regardless of the outcome. According to them even a savage terrorist who wants to kill their family and friends should not be harmed because it is immoral to inflict physical pain on someone. They believe that you should never bend the rules even if it causes death. Some of them believe that if you allow torturing that you will start down a slippery slope. For example, this slippery slope could lead up to killing a prisoner to avoid a bomb going off and killing thousands.
And, what if, you killed the prisoner and he or she didn’t give up any information. The slippery slope of sinning leads to more sinning according to deontologists. For them, torture promotes violence and sin. Although, I do agree with some of the components from the other side’s argument it doesn’t change the fact the torture is needed in some malicious cases. I agree that you should not cause another person physical harm, but if harming this person can saves lives I believe it is morally ok. People have a greater moral obligation to preserve our species and defend our family and country.
If physically harming one person can help us do this then torturing should be acceptable. Opponents to torture also stated that we will go down a slippery road to sin and killing people being tortured, but I disagree. I believe that we are rational enough to be able to torture someone and keep them alive. When torturing someone I think it would only be acceptable if a doctor was present to make sure the person be tortured didn’t die. Also, I believe we have to be one-hundred-percent positive the prisoner has the information we want, otherwise; torturing them would be wrong.
I know that torturing is wrong in most cases but in should be acceptable in others. Bagaric states that “A legal framework should be established to properly accommodate these situations,” (Bagaric 274). If torture were to be regulated instead of prohibited, it would bring out greater good then it would harm. Torture happens whether it is prohibited or not. If we create the idea of a torture warrant at least we are stating what we are doing instead of hiding it. The only way to get a torture warrant would be to meet the five variables Bagaric wrote.
Doctors being present when a prisoner is being tortured also insures that his or her life is being watched over carefully. In this example it shows that torture can be regulated to insure we don’t fall down a slippery slope and that it will help save many people in the future. My second argument shows that regulation of torture is better than prohibiting it. In my opinion, admitting what you do is better than lying about it. “Torture is outlawed in Israel yet they have been criticized all over the world for torturing people,” (Dershowitz).
They are being hypocritical. It is a known fact that the United States tortures people secretly to find vital information. Although they try to be secretive about it, they usually get caught. It would be better if everyone knew that torture does happen and has to sometimes. I agree and wish that we never had to do it, but sometimes to save lives you have. By regulating torture, people will not be hypocritical about it and there will be rules pertaining to the issue. An obvious objection to this argument is again, the slippery slope.
People against torture believe if you open the door to torture, even if you regulate it, you will lead to more and more torture. They say even if you torture is needed in extreme situations that making it legal will allow torture in less desperate situations. Again, I can rebuttal this objection of the slippery slope for regulating torture. First off, torture is already used even though it is legally prohibited. I believe making regulating torture will actually decrease it. People will have to get torture warrant and we should make very sure those are hard to get.
Second, Bagaric and Clarke say, that “there is no evidence to suggest that the lawful violation of fundamental human interests will necessarily lead to a violation of fundamental rights where the per-conditions for the activity are clearly delineated and controlled. ” For example, we use the death penalty in the U. S. , but we still value life and haven’t been putting people to death unless it was for a legitimate reason. Religions such as the Muslim-American religion state, “It is irreligious, immoral, and unethical”(Rashid 1).
They state their religious history is full of stories demanding that we condemn abuse and torture. The Muslim-American’s say that, “The Prophet Moses sacrificed his royal position to stop an act of torture” (Rashid1). They state, the Prophet Muhammad forbade the mistreatment of prisoners. Torture offends Muslim-Americans because it is immoral nature. They state that the torture of human beings at the behest of the American government must be condemned. They say that, “Simply because another country allows torture does not mean we should encourage and utilize the moral weakness of others” (Rashid 1).
They explain that when we ratified the Convention Against Torture President Ronald Reagan said, “[We] clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today. ” They also applaud President Obama for shining light on these shameful practices. Finally they said, “We cannot be deaf to the voice of justice, but must establish it. Torture is not just” (Rashid 2). The Muslim Religion has many valid points, but I disagree that torture is always wrong and immoral. Sometimes bad things can be used for the greater good.
My father who was a veteran of the Air Force knows how important it is to get vital information out of enemies. My father believes, like Bagaric, “when many lives are at risk and the only way to save someone is torture them then you should do what is necessary. ” My dad has been through torture training. My dad states that, “if the other side is going to torture us then we have to have to learn the same tactics. ” My father said in the interview, “that torture should always be the last option, but when things are turning for the worst then sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I agree with my father and I think that even torture may be immoral by itself it can be used to help people who are going to be killed which makes it moral. In conclusion, I believe prohibition of torture is wrong and that there needs to be a regulating law that allows torture so we can gather vital information. If there are more instances where thousands of people’s lives are at risk and there is no other way of saving their lives then to torture someone then we most allow it. It should be morally acceptable to save people’s lives and I believe a people’s lives are worth more than an evil person’s physical pain.