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Why America and other countries should not Torture

Updated on December 13, 2011

There has been a lot written in the last couple of years about torture. Especially the torture of detainees. detainees we are told are suspects in the war on terror. Yet despite six years in Detention most if not almost all of the detainees have yet to be charged with any criminal or military offence. Why is that ?

During World war 2 it was determined by American jurists that Japanese Water torture was that torture and yet here we are some 50 years later arguing whether or not water-boarding is torture...

One of the things we all hold as being true in a western democracy is the rule of law and the right to a fair trial. As well it has been proven for a very long time now that if you torture someone you will not extract the truth. Rather someone the recipient of the torture will tell you a story, any story in order to make the torture stop.

During the second world war & had a distant cousin who was held by the Japanese and was tortured. His job was to help build a road to the Burma Railway. During this times he was often sick malnourished and was tortured by the Japanese Guards. A guard would repeated use a truncheon on the top of his head if he as much glanced in the wrong direction.

After the war my cousin returned to England a broken man. He never recovered he repeatedly tried to take his own life untill eventually he was locked up permanently in a lunatic asylum.

Some of the proponent so far torture such as former Vice-President of the United States Dick Cheney have argued that torture works and that it has prevented Terrorist attacks we have we are told to take him at his word. Even though they were wrong so very wrong about Iraq possessions weapons of mass-destruction which posed an imminent anfd immediate threat to the United States.


There are a number of reasons other than moral ones why America should not torture. The first is that if Americans torture other non United States citizens then American soldiers serving overseas are themselves put at risk or being tortured or killed by those supporting the detainees that have been tortured. Secondly it is widely known that false confessions occur when you torture. Amnesty International and the International Red Cross have pointed this out to the United States authorities. Thirdly in fighting the war on terror torturing will have the very opposite desired effect. Torture will be used as a recruitment tool against the United States by those recruiting and seeking sympathy for Terrorist organisations and the like.

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    • profile image

      Torture produces false evidence 

      6 years ago

      Interrogators have less than a 50 percent success rate when attempting to identify a lie when torturing. This effectively means that flipping a coin is more effective than torturing as the intel gained is more than likely false. Both an innocent man and a guilty man will also admit to a crime under torture. Therefore torture leads to an excess of faulty information.

      Source: Rejali, Torture and Democracy

      If Hayden is stating that this is where our knowledge of al-Qaeda emerged from, we must question the validity of the "government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al-Qaeda."

      Logically, this would suggest that all assessments made of the capabilities and size of al-Qaeda are inaccurate.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      It is not lazy it is just that I have unfortunately bookmarked my sources will try & find them again & post them

    • profile image

      Roman 

      8 years ago

      Stating facts without a source? Such assumptions don't do much to back up your argument.

      Michael Hayden, CIA director after waterboarding had been discontinued, wrote that "as late as 2006...fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al-Qaeda came from those interrogations." Even Dennis Blair, Obama's director of national intelligence, said that those interrogations yielded "high value information".

      Sure, we may get some false confessions. But we still get many good ones. Torture does work. Saying that it doesn't ever work is a lazy and untrue assertion.

    • profile image

      Roman 

      8 years ago

      And Barry, I understand where you are coming from. Torture is a last-resort means, our ultima ratio. However, in situations such as the ones Harvey and I listed, I believe that torture is permissible. Yes, the line for when that may be is every shade of grey, but that's why we, as a nation, have to draw a line somewhere - we just disagree where the line should be drawn.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Roman

      Except it has been proven over and over and over again that Torture only elicits false information...

    • profile image

      Roman 

      8 years ago

      Let us suppose we could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Let us suppose we had a terrorist in custody who refused to reveal the nature or time of an attack we knew was imminent. So we have two options: Let him sit with valuable information, or torture it out of him. We decide to torture it out of him, we obtain the information, and we save the lives people who would have been victimized in the attack.

      You lose your "humanity".

      Or

      3000 people lose their lives.

      What would you do?

      Also, to Mr. Thomasczech: Do you think if we stop torturing our enemies will do the same? Perhaps if we had kindly and sincerely spoken to the Taliban, we could come to a mutual agreement not to torture, not to behead innocent journalists heads, or, heck, not to wage war at all!

      Unfortunately, this will probably never happen.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      thomasczech

      Exactly !

    • profile image

      thomasczech 

      8 years ago

      What it comes down to is this, If the united states tortures those they have imprisoned then others can imprison US soldiers and torture them. But if this happens they call it evil. Why does the US government have one set of rules for themselves and another for Afghan and iraq freedom fighters who fight the US for illigaly invading them.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Gabriella that language comes right out of Huxley's Brave New World

    • Gabriella D'Anton profile image

      Gabriella D'Anton 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles, Ca

      When it comes to torture, America conveniantely and euphemisticaly calls it "enhanced interogation" and feels better about itself and its moral values.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your comment tonymac04

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      None so blind as those who will not see! I am always astonished, though by now I guess I should have gotten over my surprise, at how prejudice blinds people to the truth of what is happening. How people can have such incredibly uniformed views of another religion. The actions of a few, though admittedly far too many, terrorists are projected onto the 1.4 billion Muslims who are peaceful, honest, caring citizens of their countries.

      Teaching their children from the cradle to hate and kill? Wow, that is a breathtaking assumption.

      Anyway Barry I like what you write and keep it up!

      Marybe if we all tried to treat others with some respect and understanding instead of projecting the worst parts of ourselves onto them we might achieve some level of peace in the world.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for you coment Harvet What About Abu Graib ?

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      Barry,

      The United States does NOT torture, unless you speak of the following. A colonel put a gun to an Iraqi's head, and asked where the roadside bombs were located. If he could drive quickly down the road, he would be able to save over 20 of his own men. If the colonel didn't threaten the man, all his men would die.

      The man talked, and the colonel lost his rank. Do you agree with this or not?

      Don't talk about water-boarding, we do it to our own men in training.

    • SheriSapp profile image

      SheriSapp 

      9 years ago from West Virginia

      tony0724

      You know how it is. Some people refuse to accept harsh realities. I don't really care WHAT they do to those terrorists. Those people are fanatics and view the USA as a major nuisance. They won't stop until they cannot go on. As my husband and I believe, there ARE NO innocent people over there. The children are raised to hate and kill from the cradle on. I know that we'll next hear from someone how "peaceful" the religion of Islam is. I know the schtick, but tell me again if you must.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 

      9 years ago from san diego calif

      And standing by and doing nothing solves less William ! In fact It just basically says that you have submitted to their whims !

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Fighting terrorists by becoming terrorists solves nothing. Instead it brings us all down to the level of those we despise. Violence begets violence -- not peace. Using nice words like "capital punishment" doesn't cover up the fact that it is simply "killing," and killing is violence. Sure the subject of capital punishment, if he's the right person, can not be violent again, but the killing itself tells the world it's OK to kill people if you've got a good reason -- and that promotes even more violence and killing. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, the violence never ends.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 

      9 years ago from san diego calif

      And many have returned to their previous occupation , terrorism ! I do not like bombing and I do not like torture either . I wished we lived In a world where that was not necessary , but guess what ? Many former detainees are back to killing again . And like I said most of the killing Is terrorist killing their own kind . Something you refuse to acknowledge . And I did not want us In Iraq either. I do not like this kinda stuff either I am no warmonger or Inhumane but when you are trying to take down a group of people that do not play by the rules , guess what ? Ya gotta get your hands dirty. Those prisoners are not all the saints that you think they are do not kid yourself !

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      tony0724

      No not by my standards at the moment the United Statees has this as it's current legacy. An invasion of Iraqwhich was not poart of 9/11 an invasion of Afghanistan even though many of the poeple involved in 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia. The war on terror has killed many afghani civilians through careless and indisctrimate bombing campaign . you had several hundred detainees collected by bounty hunters for the cIA and rentioned around the world then held in Guantanamo Bay with out charger for over six yars. many hundreds have beenreleased with out charge only a handful have been charged with the vague offence as guving material support to terrorism by training with Al Qaeda. Many were waterborded & sleep deprived...

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 

      9 years ago from san diego calif

      But by your standards Barry we should not fight at all . We should just give them a stern lecture . Regardless of the fact that these are guys who hide behind women and children and blow up their own people ! It Is chronicled every day In the media .

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I disagree Tony..A war crime is a war crime we are fighting a war on terror !

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 

      9 years ago from san diego calif

      WWII ? Apples and oranges Barry !

    • SheriSapp profile image

      SheriSapp 

      9 years ago from West Virginia

      Big thumbs up to the death penalty. It definitely assures that that offender will not commit another crime. Honestly, I don't believe many people who are first time offenders are sentenced to death. Like it or not, the cops USUALLY (not always) get the right guy.

      As for torture, we must get intel some way. I know the left in this country truly is naive enough to believe that we can and should make nice with these terrorists. The problem is that these terrorists will agree to anything and tell you exactly what you want to hear. Then they do whatever they had planned in the first place (Remember Chamberlain's agreement with the Nazi's before Germany started WWII?). I am really confused by how anyone thinks that these American hating scumbags deserve any consideration at all. The US constitution applies to US citizens. Most of these pricks aren't even Americans!!!! How can they deserve the same rights as us?

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      tony0724

      during the second world war everyone was masterminding the death of another nation including Churchill. Why the Japanese were shot after being convicted of water torture not unlike water-boarding which was carried out until recently at Guantanamo Bay & other secret places of rendition...

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 

      9 years ago from san diego calif

      When a person masterminds a plot that kills 3000 , I have no sympathy for them. And giving them a timeout and making them sit In a corner Is not gonna do a thing . I am not crazy about torturing people either , but we are talking about people who strap bombs to themselves and kill their own . On this one you are totally wrong !

      And as far as the death penalty goes , killing a proven child molester Is to me justice . We just had an Incident here In the US of a man who held a gal In captivity for 18 years . And he had a track record of this type of behavior since the early 70s . If he gets killed this world will be better off without him . I am a compassionate man as I sure you are , but compassion has to be directed properly. Not one of these violators deserves an ounce of compassion !

    • Luciendasky profile image

      Luciendasky 

      9 years ago from Florence, OR

      this is very thought provoking. Well done!

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I agree obviously William for thepro supprters of torture & Capital Punishment they should look up

      The Innocence Project.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      There's a definite correlation between torture and capital punishment. People who favor torture will generally favor capital punishment because they always think torture and capital punishment will be inflicted upon someone else -- not them!

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 

      9 years ago

      I don't like the idea of torturing the detainees without proper conviction and evidence.Many detainees are innocent,not all are the terrorists.Are there any civilized people who support torturing of innocents?No.As a matter of fact without proper evidence no one should be tortured to a certain extent.I think time has come for thinking about alternatives of torturing to get the truth from criminals.We must ensure the right of fair trial for everyone in this world.

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      We are all tempted by actso of retribution when it comes to imposing Justice. However thye distinction is that we do not behave in the same way the offenders behaved !

    • profile image

      ralwus 

      9 years ago

      Well it is always America who's at fault for every thing. But do tell me that no one else does any torture. I don't believe on it, but if I were a cop I would love to be able to torture convicted pedophiles and rapists along with serial killers. Don't think I would, but I'd sure want to.

    • SheriSapp profile image

      SheriSapp 

      9 years ago from West Virginia

      I'm sorry to say I disagree with much of what you wrote here. There is documented proof that the info gained from Khalid-Sheik-Mohammed AFTER he was waterboarded provided valuable intel that probably saved lives. If the current administration in this country had ANY common sense at all, they would realize that the public disclosure of these facts puts innocent lives in danger. War is an ugly and brutal business, and I'm sure there are many happenings that would be quite chilling to know. If classified info were kept classified and not smeared all over the media outlets to try and besmirch our former administration, we would be safer. Like it or not, the USA does try to be a "good guy". We do keep our word. We don't attack innocent civilians (9-11-01) because we don't approve of their government. Also, I don't recall any internet videos of US troops whacking off the heads of journalists and others simply because of their nationality or religion

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Well it would be great if all shared your view. Thanks for your comment !

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      It is shameful that we have to debate the virtues of torture in the United States in the 21st Century! Do we really have to argue that we should not torture? Torture is inhuman, immoral, obscene, ugly, disgusting, sickening ... shall I go on? Anyone who supports torture -- for any reason whatsoever -- is depraved.

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