The issue of torture is being very current and it arouses debate between those who are totally against it; those who think that it sometimes can be used for good; and those who are in between. The idea of torture was seen only as something that happened far away in time, and it should not even be considered as an issue of the modern society. Furthermore, torture was seen as a violation of the fundamental human rights, which were protected by different human rights conventions. But then something happened and actually influenced the general opinion about the issue of torture. Criminal attacks nowadays are not very rare. As long as we continue to be threatened from those criminal attacks, this issue will always be current, and there will always be space for controversy.
The importance of the issue of torture is in that it lies between the ideas of whether it is more important to protect human rights or use it as a mean of obtaining important information which could be used for the safety of the society. In one hand there are those who think that torture is against the fundamental human rights, and should not be used in any case. On the other hand, there’s this group of people whose opinion was directly affected by the criminals attacks all over the world, especially after September 11th, 2001 when the twin towers were attacked and a lot of people lost their life.
This was a turning point in the general opinion and led people to think that by torturing criminals, information could get obtained and such attacks could be prevented from happening, or at least the number of such attacks could decline. Should the right of not being tortured be protected by the human rights or should the officials consider torture as a mean to be used by governments in the prosecution of terror and war? I would argue that torture should be used in some circumstances, as long as governments use it as a mean of obtaining important information, which would contribute to having a safer and more protected society.
Many people argue that torture should not be allowed in any circumstance. Every human being has its rights protected by human rights conventions, and not being tortured is one of them. As such, torture should not be allowed in any case. A violation of a fundamental human right today may lead to more human rights violations in the future, and this is something that none of us wants. We are all equal in front of the law, and no one has the right to treat somebody else less than that, no matter part of which government s/he is or who s/he represents. According to the people who are against torture, no matter if a person is responsible for what s/he is being accused for, this should not in any case be used as a justification for torture. S/he should be sent to the court and should be judged according to the international laws.
Another argument against the use of torture is that torture is cruel and immoral. No matter who are we dealing with, torture is something we should not use in any case. By using torture, you’re not only doing something immoral, but it also contributes to our society losing values. Torture is something that criminals use to obtain information from hostages. By torturing people, we are using the same means that terrorist use to get information from captured hostages. Torture is terrorism itself, and we don’t want to fight terrorism with torture. By using the same means that criminals do, aren’t we in a way being exactly like them?!
On the other hand, many others argue that there are some cases in which torture should be used. The main argument they have is that it serves for the protection of human lives. Let’s develop a case in which many argue that torture would serve for good: A bomb which will explode within an hour is planted in a big city, and a captured criminal who knows the destination of the bomb is not willing to talk. In this case, many argue that torture is the solution to get that information, and since it would save many lives, it should be allowed. Another argument that is used by those who are in favor of torture is that it would serve to the governments a tool for the protection of its citizens. According to them, a government should all of their means to ensure the safety of tis citizens, even if one of those tools is torture. As long as it is used for the benefit of the majority, it not only can, but it should be used.
In my opinion both sides are right in presenting their arguments, and they both are very convincing. I agree that torture is against human rights and it contributes to the degradation of our society but as long as it also contributes in having a safer environment for everyone, does it really matter? Should the protection of a criminal’s right be valued more than the lives of many innocent people? I am one of those who think that there are some cases in which torture can be morally justified.
For example, if I had to choose between torturing a criminal and saving ten, thousands, or millions of lives, or not torturing him/her, I would choose saving the lives of the innocent people, because in my opinion, the lives of innocent people weigh a lot more than not torturing a criminal does. But then a question arises: What if this supposed criminal is tortured but s/he has no clue on the information we want to get from him? What if we are torturing an innocent person and we get no practical results? Torture becomes risky because we do not always have the right person; the one we could get the information we want from.
Secondly, I think that torture can be used to frighten some criminals because they would expect that the same is waiting for them too. Knowing that fear is usually on of the reasons why people hold back, torture can be used to frighten criminals, which may result in a lower criminal activity and a decline of criminal attacks. An old roman saying says: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” My opinion is that in order to maintain peace and to ensure safety and protection for the whole people, governments should also consider using torture as one of their means to ensure that.
In conclusion, torture is an issue which arouses a great deal of controversy and current debate between those who are pro and against it. In one hand, those who are against the use of torture in any case, argue that torture is immoral, it is against the law, and it also contributes to our society losing values. In the other hand, there are those who think that torture is a necessary and a proper tool to ensure safety and protection for all the people. We all agree that the responsibility of very government in the world is to make sure that their citizens are safe, no matter what they have to do or what means they have to use. So, a question arises: Can the use of torture ever be justified?
Can it be that someday, the society will agree upon the usage of torture for their own benefits? Even if torture gets legalized and we all agree on the benefits of the use of torture for the purpose of getting information, do we really get the information that we are looking for? Or, do we actually end up with people making up stories, just to satisfy our need of getting some information? Those are very tough questions to answer and the debate for the issue of torture will go on and on without ever arriving to conclusion which would be acceptable for everyone.