Is torture ever justified? | The Tylt
Former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain is pushing back hard against President-elect Trump's stance on torture. Discussing the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, which has been banned by Congress, the President-elect claimed "I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough." But McCain told an audience he doesn't "give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do" and claims torture fails to produce reliable intelligence. What do you think? Read more and vote below!
Is torture ever justified?
Trump has nominated Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to lead the CIA, who has indicated he would bring back waterboarding. The American Civil Liberties Union has come out strongly against Pompeo's vocal stance on torture, arguing it is both a violation of the Constitution and international law.
Commentator Charles Krauthammer argues that there are times when torture is the only choice:
Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. An innocent’s life is at stake. The bad guy you have captured possesses information that could save this life. He refuses to divulge. In such a case, the choice is easy....The second exception to the no-torture rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives. This case lacks the black-and-white clarity of the ticking time bomb scenario. We know less about the length of the fuse or the nature of the next attack. But we do know the danger is great. We know we must act but have no idea where or how—and we can’t know that until we have information.
Many argue torture is simply immoral, but as John McCain and others point out, the evidence also shows it doesn't work. It leads to false confessions and bad intelligence.
But many people believe there are some criminals and some crimes so horrific they deserve torture.
And some argue some techniques are an effective way to get necessary intelligence.
If torturing a few could save many lives, is it justified?
Berl Falbaum writes stances on torture may not be nearly as black-and-white when it comes to large-scale terror attacks:
Let us assume that the U.S. captures an enemy spy who has knowledge of a nuclear attack on a major American city that would kill hundreds of thousands of people. Should the U.S. torture the spy to obtain the information and save a U.S. city?....We, unfortunately, must act in accordance with reality, not abstract concepts no matter how beautifully expressed. The fact is we live in a world where some do not share our commitment to the value for human life.