Most people nowadays do not fully understand the meaning of the word, torture. Some individuals view torture as a means for getting answers and evidence, while others say torture is used to imprison wrongdoers. Whatever definition people use to define this word, most people agree that torture: is the act of causing severe pain physically and/or psychologically to others with the intention of obtaining information.
Likewise, psychological torture brings a different type of pain. Instead of hurting the victim physically through rough punishment, the pain is coming from their mind. Hurting them mentally has a different side effect, the victim becomes terrified by the threats and intention of the torturer which causes them to be in a state of depression and anxiety. However, as convenient as it sounds to inflict severe pain on others to obtain important information, these actions and operations are inhumane which violates human rights, go against some religions, and breaks the 8th amendment of the Bill of Rights.
Being human grants one personal freedom, moral principles, and standards of human behavior. Human rights are the basic rights and freedom that belongs to every person on the planet. Human rights apply to everyone regardless of where they are from, what race and ethics they are, the religion and culture they believe in and finally how they choose to live their life. As mentioned by a student from the University of Edinburgh, ‘Of all human rights violations, torture is the most widely prohibited and is often met with the most absolute moral condemnation’ (Tobias 728).
With this being said, human rights apply to everyone from birth to death meaning they cannot be taken away by any method of torture or brutal punishment. According to a news reporter, ‘on December 10. 1948, fifty-three nations on the earth, scarred by a terrible war, brought forth something new in human history, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ ( Tapp 7). However, in this Declaration, it was stated in Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Based on this law, it provides evidence that torture or any inhumane treatment is not allowed towards any human beings no matter the circumstance since it violates individuals human rights.
Religion is the teaching of rules from a god or leader that can help and guide people through difficult situations that are waiting for them throughout their lives. It is true that all religion can be different and distinct from one another but at the end of the day all religion has one purpose which is to teach people how to live a life with moral values and conduct.
There are a countless amount of religious individuals who are against this act of cruelty since they view it as a violation of a human being. According to a student at Duke University, ‘Torture is wrong; it does not make us safer, it does not work, it paves the way for further and more reprehensible torture, it stains those who practice it, it damages torture practitioners, who live with the effects for the rest of their lives’ (Kirk 234). With this saying, it shows how those who conduct these methods of punishment have their moral compass shifter which changes their way of living, most importantly those who practice torture as a form of a religious ceremony are stained by the brutality that was inflicted upon the victim.
Furthermore, torture should not be accepted by any religion since it breaks passion and faith in others. According to a Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought at Emory University, ‘all humans are created in God’s image. They invariably argue that from this fundamental principle it logically follows that torture ought to be prohibited or permitted.’ (Crane 599). This saying by the scholar is trying to prove that torture has no existence in religion since humans were all a creation from God. Due to this point, it shows how torture goes against religion since morals and values are being broken when individuals harm and endanger others to obtain what they want.
In the United States, the truth states that torture, by definition is illegal and breaks the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some may argue that torturing criminals and enemies are a good thing since it extracts information and other details to keep the nation from harm. However, this contradicts the fact that the United States is a nation that supports equality and freedom. As mentioned by the author, ‘Adopted in 1791, the Eighth Amendment provides: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted’ (Dasgupta 544). The importance of this amendment is used to create a safety barrier for the citizens and people on US soil. Cruel and unusual punishment can be referred to as torture, with this point being made in the 8th amendment it shows how torture violates the Bill of Rights and destroys the dignity of the United States. Torture in the US takes place mostly in prisons.
Prisoners are abducted from their cells and forced into an interrogation room, where they are abused and physically punished for the crime they commit. At the end of the day, isn’t being in prison already a harsh punishment? The prisoner’s freedom is already taken away as punishment, leading to isolation from their friends and family. According to Christian Century Foundation,’ Whenever we torture or mistreat prisoners, we are capitulating morally to the enemy and adopting a terrorist ethic’ (Johnson 26). This quote signifies how America should hold the moral high ground and not stoop to the levels of the terrorist they torture, however, if the nation fails to accomplish this motive than the nation is losing its moral standing and assimilating with the values that this nation wishes to impose.
The general argument made on torture is that this method of punishment is cruel and inhumane which violates human rights and destroys the dignity of America. However, some believe that torture can be acceptable when there is no other choice. Believers think that this form of punishment must be used when many lives are in a dangerous situation. In their eyes, they sacrifice and torture one life to protect the rest who are at harm.
Everyone has heard of the ticking time bomb scenario where a terrorist has planted a bomb in the city and trapped many innocent lives around that area, however, the terrorist has been caught by the police officers and this is when the scene gets bloody. In order to save many innocent lives, the police officers have no choice but to interrogate and torture the terrorist to extract the location and information of the deadly bomb. According to a student from the University of Vermont, ‘To the extent that this scenario frames official and public understandings of the threat of terrorism, it tends to make torture appear more reasonable as a response'(Hannah 623). This scenario usually makes people reconsider torture as a bad and cruel method of punishment. The ticking bomb scenario proves that torture can be justified when there is no other way and especially when there are lives on the line.
As a result, torture is a form of brutality that not only hurts and destroys the victim physically but also psychologically. The process of torture has both physical, and mental repercussions meant to force the victim into being complacent. Some may argue that torture is a necessary tactic as it is efficient and will work most of the time. However torture, if used, should only ever be used in the most dire situations. If it were to be abused strictly for its efficiency it would contradict the morales that so many people value. The actions and operations of torture traumatize the victim which violates their basic human rights, go against the principles of certain religions, and breaks the 8th amendment of the Bill of Rights.