Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

In the 21st century, we in the West are battling against a threat very unlike anything the world has seen before. The threat posed to our way of life is one whereby terrorists are prepared to kill themselves, and target other innocent civilians in order to achieve their political and ideological aims. As the mindset of such criminals in so fundamentally different to other ‘ordinary’ criminals, ordinary interrogation techniques will not suffice.Do we need an extreme answer to deal with an extreme problem?

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Normal interrogation often does not work

As the terrorist cells we are opposing often have extreme ideological roots, it is fair to assume that the members of such organisations have been indoctrinated to a large degree to not surrender easily, or betray their side by giving away information. Torture would be effective in breaking down these individuals so that the only option they have is to yield the necessary information, whereas with normal interrogation techniques they would have succeeded in not giving anything anyway.

Firstly, torture would prove to be ineffective, as the terrorist organisations that this motion is directed against are organised in such a fashion that, unless very senior in the cell, a single individual could not confess the entire working of the organisation or know who the senior members were. The ‘footmen’ are told very little and given very simplistic instructions. Yet during the torture it may not become clear that the suspect doesn’t know much, and the temptation for the torturer is to carry on inflicting pain to see if there is anything else he might know. This could cause serious psychological and physical harm on an essentially innocent victim.

Torture can also cause anger and conflict against people in the same parties.

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Saving time saves lives

Sometimes there is a very limited amount of time until a terrorist attack could take place, and in these situations time is of the essence, and it is of the upmost importance to gain information quickly and accurately. Torture is a very quick way to gain information in comparison to regular examination, and so would ideally help address any imminent threat.

Although threats to public safety are obviously urgent this does not mean that the gathering of information should be rushed. This can lead to inaccurate information and possibly the loss of more life. Traditional, non-torturous methods may take longer, but are more garuanteed to produce an accurate response.

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Utilitarian argument

Although regrettable, the suffering of one person, especially one who is capable of enacting terrifying crimes against other human beings, is worth potentially saving the lives of hundreds, even thousands of law-abiding citizens. As such, the use of torture would be for the ‘greater good’.

Someone of any religious persuasion be it christian, muslim or whatever, would agree with this IDEA of the greater good. If given the choice of one person suffering over many then one person is preferable. What religion tells us, however, is that we cannot be the one to inflict that suffering, unless it is on ourselves. Self sacrifice is smiled upon, torturing other people is frowned upon. Utilitarianism fails from a religious perspective when humans try to implement what is, to a believer, divine justice.

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

'eye for an eye'

Terrorists would have no qualms about torturing anyone that opposed their plans and beliefs so why not return the 'favour'? Indeed there have been many examples of terrorist organisations capturing and torturing those who try to interfere with thier plans, so it is justifiable that we do the same, as our end goal is the correct one. The terrorists must pay!

This sentiment displays everything that is wrong with contemporary thug mentality. 'They hurt us so we'll hurt them' is not an attitude that can be condoned, and if one must rely on hackneyed sayings to debate important political issues then surely 'two wrongs don't make a right' is more appropriate here! How can we condemn the terrorsists action if we ourselves use fear and intimidation to get our way?

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Deterrent

If other countries know that we will not harm them in any way, they will be less fearful of the consequences. Thus, more terrorist attacks may be carried out.

Fear is a powerful motivating force, the Taliban in Afghanistan have long been renowned for their recruitment tactics, using fear to drive locals into their camps and force them to fight. If the Western forces can present an equally fearsome deterrent, in the threat of torture, adversaries will be less likely to both, commit attacks and aid those doing so.

Torturing terrorism suspects or any other suspects isn't a deterrent in fact it's a propaganda tool for any terrorist group to recruit people angry by their fellow countryman's relgious person etc treatment. Firstly not all attacks are carried out by state sponsored organisations take Al Qaeda for example or FARC which has no known backing by a state. Secondly torture acts as tool for terrorist groups: "Look these guys aren't playing by the rules so why on earth should we?". Secondly where is this opposing arguments statistics for less terrorism attacks occuring as a result of more torture? In fact the reality is likely to be the opposite.

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Ticking bomb theory

The ticking bomb theory goes, there is a bomb in a busy public place somewhere which if detonates will kill and maim many innocent lives (possibly your wife and child) the whereabouts is unknown by anyone except the person that planted it and that person is in custody of police/inteligence services, he says he wont disclose the location. So what do you do to get the information, and evacuate the area, who's "human rights" are more important one man that is willing to kill and maim innocent members of society or the innocent members of society. Is the short term pain and discomfort more important to avoid or the loss of hundreds of lives. It could be your child, wife, loved one. Do you sit there and do nothing or do you torture the terrorist for the information, you decide, tick tick tick.

Then let's be practical. Maybe not hundreds of thousands of lives - just ten. Is that acceptable? "Oh, it's only ten people. Let the culprit be." In Iraq alone 11,611 fatalities have occurred just between 2000-2006 due to car bombs and things of that nature. These are small and do not put hundreds of thousands in danger. But if it is possible for lives to be saved through methods like this - what is the problem? Torture should not be the go-to solution, nor is it always the correct tactic, but it should be an option. Let it be regulated. Standards to be met. Perhaps, warrants to be granted for more long-term actions. Not the answer, just an option.

Here might be the first concession of the debate. If the government has in their custody the person they know has set the bomb into place, and hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives are on the line, then torture very well may be the best option.

However, this is a very narrow circumstance. First, how many bombs actually put hundreds or thousands of lives at risk? Two types of people can pull this off.

First, is a deranged figure on a mission. For whatever reason they believe they are deranged enough to pull this off. With the

And forget about the Ticking Bomb Theory being validation for torture against a trained operative. You get a well trained Al Qaeda, Taliban or Hamas operative who would have the resources and ability to pull of an attack like this, and they won't give up information so easily.

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Torture victims lie

When someone is being tortured their entire psyche is taken over by the intensity of the pain they are suffering. They cannot think about anything else. Under these conditions it is impossible to lie because you simply don't have the mental capacity to think up a lie. The only time a subject could give false information is if the torturer suggests something to which they could agree. As long as this is avoided, we can be fairly confident in the information gathered in this way.

An additional side-effect might be that the suspect might own up to any charges brought against them, even if they are not true, just to make the pain stop. There is a historical precedent for this, as during the purges in Stalin’s Russia, many of his political adversaries were tortured and then put on ‘show trials’, where they admitted to crimes that they couldn’t possibly have committed. Not only would this be ineffectual in the ultimate aim of preventing future terror attacks, it is incredibly damaging for the individual and indeed the justice system.

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Human Rights!

Human rights violations have always occurrd in the most extreme circumstances. The U.S violate human rights in Guantanamo bay and, although this has damaged thier reputation, they are still respected by the global community because it is recognised that in some (very rare) circumstances, this activity is necessary.

The use of torture is a serious violation of human rights, and is strictly prohibited under international law. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’. Should this motion be passed, it would undermine Britain’s commitment to the whole document, and would severely impact on its international reputation and its relations around the world.

Torture should be allowed against terror suspects

Yes because... No because...

Torture creates extra suffering due to false information

This argument has no empirical evidence to back it up. As details of torture cases are genrally hidden from public knowledge due to the outcry that this would cause, it is not possible to truly determine how effective torture is at gaining the truth and saving lives. It is certainly not possible to give examples of cases where people's 'lives have been ruined' by evidence given uder torture alone.

People lie and say what ever they think will stop the torture. Then innocent people are made out to be criminals and their lives are ruined!

Debates > Torture should be allowed against terror suspects