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Thread: Is torture ever necessary?

  1. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #1

    Is torture ever necessary?

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    So this is kind of a shoot off of the In The News thread about the serial killer guy.

    This is a difficult topic for me because I sit right on the line. I find myself firmly against purposely causing someone pain when they are put to death, because that's for a sense of revenge, which I believe is unbiblical. I believe that people should only be put to death when they are too dangerous to be left alive.

    Now that said, we had to face moral decisions in AF training (the GLPs and stuff) that proposed situations that would test our leadership. One in particular I think of when I encounter the topic of torture. It said:

    You are the leader of an anti-terrorism team in the Northeast. You have come across a live bomb in New York City. Your people were able to disassemble it and you have caught a man who openly admits to planting the bomb. He gives you details about the bomb (location, type, etc.) that confirm his story. He says that there are others, but refuses to tell you where they are, even with intense interrogation. The bomb that you did find had 3 hours left until detonation, so it is likely that the other bombs have a similar time frame. Do you condone torturing this man to ascertain the location of the other bombs? Do you condone the torturing of his family members to ascertain said locations?
    In that situation, I still condone torturing the man, though not his family members. I can't find it in myself to place that person's comfort above thousands of lives.

    What is your response? What are your thoughts? Is torture ever necessary?
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    “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” -- Carl Sagan

  2. Team Rocket
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    #2
    I don't think there's enough proof the physical torture is reliable enough to justify it's use ever. People will say whatever to make the pain stop. And terrorists are likely trained to lie while being subjected to torture.
  3. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by rocket_lizz View Post
    I don't think there's enough proof the physical torture is reliable enough to justify it's use ever. People will say whatever to make the pain stop. And terrorists are likely trained to lie while being subjected to torture.
    There isn't proof because it's generally technically illegal, so it can't be openly studied. Torture has resulted in quite a lot of information leaked/handed to opposition.
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    “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” -- Carl Sagan

  4. Pour a little salt, we were never here
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    #4
    I basically agree with you on the torture part. There are instances where I can see it's use, but it's definitely not ideal or a first step or something that should be common practice, IMO.

    As for discomfort during execution, I agree torture shouldn't be the goal or norm, but a few minutes of discomfort, IMO, is expected when dying. The fact that the people dying in this manner did horrible things (my statements are assuming the person is truly guilty of the crimes they are convicted of) to other people, a few moments of discomfort doesn't really both me. Maybe that's barbaric, I know a lot of people feel very strongly about making it as painless as possible, I just don't have strong feelings about protecting people in, what I view minute ways, who do atrocious things.
  5. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #5
    I feel like I'd have to think about this more.

    My initial response is that this is not "leadership" (but this is just grad school readings coming to mind... we never had to apply it in terms of terrorism situations). I just don't see what is honorable about a person who condones torture. I definitely understand the concept of torturing someone to find out more information, especially in a crucial situation like the one above. But at the same time, the likelihood of that individual actually "breaking" and giving out information is slim. I really have no idea... I've never thought about such grave situations. Personally, I could not give out such orders to condone torture. I'd hope that my intel was enough to find the rest of the bombs... Ugh, I have no idea, all I know is that for me, its never "necessary."
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    #6
    I am fine with the use of torture. I am personally not of the mindset that super-villain-bad-guys should be afforded the rights of a regular person, nor do I think that hurting someone who is going to/has done something terrible is inhumane. You reap what you sow.
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    #7
    In the situation outlined above- where it is known without a doubt that getting information from that individual ASAP would help save so many people- torture (as a very last resource) is understandable. However, I would hope they'd start as light (if that's even possible) as possible and only resort to truly heinous things if necessary. And in no circumstances would it be ok to torture his family.

    The whole idea of torture honesty makes me sad. That person is still a human being but if they are truly putting so many others in harm something needs to be done.
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    #8
    i think that would probably be one of the few situations where i would support torture. when you know thousands of people are in imminent danger and this man knows how to prevent it.

    i would never agree to torturing his family. that is just wrong imo in many Middle Eastern countries you dont really get to choose who you marry so the poor innocent wife and kids dont deserve pain because their husband/father is a douche.
  9. Moderator
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    #9
    My answer is no. I don't believe torture is justified. Ever.

    Getting into specific theoretical situations makes it maybe a teensy bit harder for me to state that as firmly, but it doesn't change my opinion. And then, of course, we have to define torture (and I don't mean a dictionary definition).
  10. Come along with me, misery loves company.
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    #10
    The movie "Unthinkable" is basically about the example you gave. I agree with you, though.
    Also that movie is great.
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