Torture: An Unethical Method of the United States' Intelligence

620 Words2 Pages
Torture is not a new ethical dilemma, because torture has been practiced throughout human history and in different cultures. Now, however, the Geneva Convention and other modern norms suggest that human beings should not resort to using torture. Torture is becoming taboo as a method of intelligence gathering, which is why the methods used during the Iraq war were decried. However, the ethical case can be made for torture. If torturing one human being leads to information that could save the lives of a thousand, torture suddenly seems like a sensible method. This is a utilitarian perspective on torture, which many people find palatable. However, there are problems with this method of thinking about torture. The state-sanctioned use of torture creates a normative framework in which torture becomes acceptable. Torture sends the wrong message about what a free, open, and enlightened society should be. Even if torture is only acceptable in extreme circumstances, as with a suspect who might know something about an impending terrorist attack, who decides when and what type of torture should be used? There is too much potential for abuse of the moral loophole with regards to torture. If the United States hopes to be a role model, then torture cannot fit into its intelligence methods. Another reason why torture cannot be an ethically sound practice is that it would be impossible to know for sure what information the prisoner might have. If the prisoner only has a tidbit of
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