Can Torture Ever Be Justified?

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Can torture, the infliction of intolerable pain to extract potentially life-saving information from war criminals, ever be justified? What if this torture or activity is sanctioned or ordered by those in authority? Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, numerous reported incidents of torturing detainees by the United States have been covered in the media all over the world. The public first learned about the horrific actions of the United States when the truths of Abu Ghraib surfaced. Most Americans are shocked by those horrendous and disturbing photographs of the abuse of prisoners broadcasted. When the humiliation of Abu Ghraib surfaced, the US government argued that it was solely the work of a couple soldiers. However, the truth is that prisoner abuses have expanded with the soldiers knowing that it is possible for them to get away with such atrocious actions. Moreover, the use of torture by the United States is setting a bad example for the authoritarian regimes abroad, and sending out the wrong signal that torture is legitimate (Greenberg, 2009). It further damages United States' authority to act as international police to speak out against authoritarian regimes that are treating detainees in even less humane ways. Some government officials believe that life-saving torture is morally justified, because the lives of innocent people prevails the infliction of physical pains to criminals. Others reject torture as both unreliable and an insult to basic principles
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