Torture in Interrogation

As the stakes of the war on terror are raised, are the US' use of torture, and its attitude towards UN's Geneva convention justified?

Torture in Interrogation
Yes because...

Many with experience doing interrogations have found that aggressive tactics are the best, and somet...

Many with experience doing interrogations have found that aggressive tactics are the best, and sometimes the only, way to obtain information—information that might lead to the arrest or conviction of other terrorists, or might protect against a future attack against Americans. Often such information is needed quickly so that action can be taken. Moreover, the U.S. has a track record for using such methods of interrogation in a regulated, studied way that do not constitute “torture” in the conventional sense; for instance, methods that will cause permanent damage to vital organs or permanent emotional trauma have never been sanctioned by the U.S. government.
No because...
Information obtained from torture is suspect at best; studies have shown that given psychological pressure individuals will say a wide variety of things without regard for the truth. Moreover, it is important for closure and safety that criminals be brought to justice, but evidence obtained from torture may be inadmissible in the courtroom.

Torture in Interrogation
Yes because...

Such interrogation methods are applied to those the U.S. government has strong reason to believe hav...

Such interrogation methods are applied to those the U.S. government has strong reason to believe have engaged in terrorist activities against Americans. Extralegal activity like theirs requires a strong response. These are bad people, trained terrorists who will stop at nothing to kill innocent U.S. civilians. Those who would heavily restrict interrogation methods would have the U.S. lose the war on terror.
No because...
Every human being, no matter how heinous a crime they are suspected of committing, has human rights. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” (Moreover, U.S. domestic law—and in particular the fifth and eighth amendments to the constitution—may preclude torture as well.)

Torture in Interrogation
Yes because...

The Geneva Conventions do not apply to interrogation of terrorists and suspected terrorists held by ...

The Geneva Conventions do not apply to interrogation of terrorists and suspected terrorists held by U.S. soldiers because they are not prisoners of war. They are illegal, enemy combatants, not subject to such protection.
No because...
Verbal sleight of hand does not mean individuals captured in the war on terror are not prisoners of war. Moreover, in many cases they are merely suspected of links to criminal activity (and, as past experience has indicated, often wrongly so). Extralegal military tribunals conducted behind closed doors without proper due process rights leave the U.S. on shaky moral ground.

Torture in Interrogation
Yes because...

The U.S. is hardly alone in its use of such interrogation practices, and has a good record compared ...

The U.S. is hardly alone in its use of such interrogation practices, and has a good record compared with other nations'. Moreover, “torture” is a loaded word that does not accurately differentiate between the studied interrogation practices of U.S forces and the human rights abuses committed in many developing nations.
No because...
The U.S. should set the standard for international human rights, rather than meet the average. Furthermore, permitting low-level and under-trained U.S. troops to engage in unsupervised interrogation activities is a recipe for disaster. Incidents like the Abu Ghraib scandal demonstrate how quickly the U.S.’s reputation can suffer from such illicit treatment of prisoners.


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