Torture as a Strategy of War

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The use of torture as a strategy of war is as old as war itself. Torture serves a number of different functions. One of those functions is punishment for crimes committed, and torture is still used in this way to some degree. Another one of the functions of torture is to extract information or confessions. It is this type of torture that Alan Dershowitz and Ken Roth claim was, and still is, being used in the war against terrorism. Although torture violates the principles of the Geneva Convention, it is still used: "countries all over the world violate the Geneva Accords. They do it secretly," (Dershowitz, cited in "Dershowitz: Torture could be justified"). The use of torture can be " as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice," (Dershowitz, cited in "Dershowitz: Torture could be justified"). This stance echoes the official stance of the United States after September 11, when the White House claimed that torture may be "justified" (Priest and Smith). The argument is simple: if torturing one person leads to information that saes hundreds or thousands of lives, then it is worth it. "We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures," (Dershowitz, cited in "Dershowitz: Torture could be justified").
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