Torture is an act of deliberately inflicting severe physical pain or injury to people, who are mostly victims of war, with an aim of obtaining information from them. Torturers use methods such as electric shocks, asphyxiation, penetrating injuries, extreme physical conditions, sexual torture, and mental torture (Burnett, 2001). Tortures are mainly conducted in order to punish victims, coerce them to perform a particular task, revenge a certain act, or interrogate them about certain information. Various human rights defenders are against torture since it causes mental problems to the torturer and physical problems in addition to violating human rights of the victim. In addition to this, it may also affect the torturer and make him inhuman. However, some critics argue that torture is justified if it is performed to obtain vital information that can help save innocent lives. I strongly agree with the statement that torture is never justified.
Torture is never justified since it violates human rights of the victim under torture. Every human being has a right to life. In some cases, torturers torture victims until death since they believe that there is a certain extent to which the human body can withstand pain. When this point is crossed the victim will do anything to stop the pain that he feels. In addition to this, torture victims are not treated with dignity. There is evidence that some American soldiers brutally raped Muslim women in Iraq as they tried to obtain information that they would use to launch attacks (Jessberger, 2005). Moreover, torture victims are not given enough food and they are sometimes locked in dark rooms to prevent them from interacting with the outside world. This is a violation of their right to association. Some victims sleep on cold floors and thus most of them develop chest problems due to the impact of extremely low temperature on their bodies. Furthermore, they are not given medical attention even if they develop any form of sickness. Torture also violates the legal right of a person to remain silent when questioned.
Torture is never justified since it sometimes fails to retrieve the information that torturers seek to get from the torturer. According to soldiers performing torture on Afghanistan’s soldiers, they would sometimes torture a captive for months and the captive would not give them any important information. In addition to this, soldiers are always under oath not to betray their country and this makes them choose death over giving any sensitive information that would affect safety of their country. Research has also revealed that prisoners under torture sometimes give false information or any information in order to stop the pain they feel (Rumney, 2005). The torturer is also never sure if the prisoner has given him the correct information that he sought to retrieve from the torture. This may motivate the torturer to torture the prisoner further so that he may get more information. In the course of getting more information from the prisoner, the latter may die because he may fail to handle the pain. There are effective methods that investigation authorities may use in order to obtain information from a prisoner instead of torture and these methods may be successful. If a prisoner is offered protection by the state that has captured him or promised immunity to him, it is more likely that this prisoner will give more accurate information than when the prisoner is being tortured (Gerrity, Keane & Tuma, 2001).
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I am also against torture since it negatively affects the torturer. Soldiers who conducted tortures in Guantanamo Bay reported that the images of prisoners crying for help do not easily go away from the memory. In addition to this, some of the soldiers claimed that they would prefer being drunk or take any drugs since it helped them to erase the memories about tortures and extracting information from their prisoners. Furthermore, psychologists have carried out studies on torturers and discovered that most of them lose their humanity after performing several subsequent tortures (Ginbar, 2008). This is because they fail to relate to human pain and thus they do not see any harm in killing another human being. In addition to this, there is a case of a torturer who became obsessed with human blood and thus he would cut his victims with knives in order to get satisfaction from watching blood flowing from the victim (Romney, 2005). Psychologists recently diagnosed a torturer with PTSD after his numerous attempts to commit suicide. In 1989 this torturer tortured his prisoners by burning them with cigarettes and crushing their genitals. After he retired from being a soldier in 1999, his mental health started fading and he could hear voices of his victims crying in pain. This made him start abusing his family and eventually made him to attempt suicide.
It is not moral to justify torture since it affects mental health of the tortured victim. According to psychologists, most victims of torture suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. Most of them have severe anxiety that affects their judgment, makes them have nightmares, causes depression and memory lapses. Psychologists have found a case of a prisoner who was put in a dungeon where he was tortured together with another prisoner. The other prisoner died in the course of the torture since he was subjected to heavy battering. After this incident, the survived prisoner felt guilty and disgraced since he felt that he had a responsibility of protecting the other prisoner (Schultz, 2007). Despite the fact that 20 years have passed since this survivor was released from prison, he is still inactive and lives an alienated life. Torture victims also feel guilty and ashamed especially if they are raped in the course of the torture. Furthermore, research has shown that victims who were raped while being tortured experience reduced libido and lose their trust in marriage or men further in life (Stanely, 2009). Torture victims also experience social withdrawal, reduced capacity to learn, and emotional flatness.
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Torture can never be justified since it affects physical health of tortured victims. If tortured victims are exposed to brutal methods of torture, they may have head and neurological injuries. In addition to this, medical experts claim that most tortured victims experience severe headaches, chest pains, digestive problems, dizziness, and faintness. Tortured victims may also have injuries of their fingers or genitals. Torturers use objects such as pliers and body rollers. This may cause dislocation of limbs, ankylosis, and deformed limbs for the victims. In some cases, victims become crippled after undergoing the torture (Fink, 2010). Torture victims also face the risk of having penetrating injuries due to brutality of methods that torturers use in the torture process. In some cases, torturers shoot victims in an attempt to prevent them from escaping. This may cause the victims to have hemorrhages or organ dysfunctions. In some cases, tortured victims are gang raped by torturers. These victims end up contracting sexually transmitted infections such as hepatitis B, HIV, herpes, syphilis, and crabs.
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However, some critics support torture due to several reasons. They argue that torture is justified if it is the only possible means that can be used to obtain critical information in order to save innocent lives. The logic behind this is since every person has a right to self-defense, it would be moral to inflict injury to a wrongdoer in an attempt to save the life of an innocent person (Ginbar, 2008). Furthermore, other people claim that it is ethical to use torture in order to win the war on terror. Since Muslim soldiers cut off heads of American soldiers, it will not be wrong for American soldiers to kill victims of torture in the course of obtaining vital information. Furthermore, not all methods used during torture are brutal. Some of them use torture pills that do not cause physical or mental injury to the victim while extracting information. Some critics also claim that collateral damage is normal during the war and thus tortures which cause victims to die and suffer injury due should not be perceived as a surprising phenomenon.
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To conclude, I strongly agree with the statement that torture is never justified. This is because it violates human rights of the victim under torture. In some instances, the torturer forces the torture victim to sleep on cold floors for days. In addition to this, the victim may be denied food for days. Torture cannot be justified since the process may fail to retrieve important information. Most soldiers are under oath and thus they may not provide information despite torture techniques applied to them. Victims may also give wrong information thus misguiding the torturer. The process of torture may also mentally affect the torturer and the victim. There is evidence that both may experience nightmares, insomnia, alienation, and post traumatic stress disorder. Torture also affects physical health of the victim since the latter may suffer head injuries and broken limbs.
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