Imagine being taken by someone you do not know, and questioned ferociously about events that you are not aware of. You are questioned of these things because of who an acquaintance of yours is or by the location you just happened to be in at that moment. When you do not know anything that you are questioned of, these same people that took you are now using “enhanced interrogation techniques” upon you. These “enhanced interrogation techniques” include being hit, having screwdrivers that have been put under fire jabbed into your leg, waterboarding, threats to your life and your families’ lives, and many other things. What is being done is not interrogation. It is torture masquerading as interrogation. It is my belief that in the United States torture should have a more definite and clear definition so that it could be made illegal in all ways and that the public should also be more aware of who is affected by it, how it is used and the arguments against torture.
By the World Medical Association the definition of torture is, “[T]he deliberate, systematic, and cruel infliction of physical and mental sufferings” (Hardi 134). But this is not the only definition of torture that exists. There are many different definitions for different countries. The United States itself has a definition, but it isn’t clear of what is torture if there is “no touch” (Vicaro 1). Infliction of mental sufferings is often the most debated type of torture. Many people believe that it is not torture because no physical damage is being done. Yet when someone is tortured mentally, there is permanent damage done—even if there is no physical scar left behind after the torture has been completed.
Now what are the common uses of torture today? The physical uses of torture include sleep deprivation, water boarding, solitary confinement, forced nudity, exposure to cold temperatures, and other ways that physical pain is inflicted. The mental uses of torture include sexual and cultural humiliation, the use of threats and phobias to induce fear, and harassment (Hardi 135). All of these things can be quite horrifying and scar one for life. That includes the mental uses of torture.
The use of torture is used more often than people believe. It has often used by the United States overseas during the Iraqi War to extract information on insurgents. Another recent practice used by the United States is something called rendition operations. This is when an individual is transferred to another country for prosecution or interrogation. This has been criticized by many, and because of this McCain has attempted to strike up and amendment that states, “No individual under the custody or the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” But this amendment has yet to be ratified. It is an excellent amendment though because it puts more protection on those who are in custody of the United States being tortured by individuals from the United States (Pines 551- 568). Torture is often justified by the fact that it is a necessary evil. It is said that the information that you are trying to get out of a person can save lives or is for the best. President Obama himself is in a way supportive of torture. Our current president has established a special task force that advocates the continued use of rendition operations (Pines 523). So maybe there are some positives that come out of torture if our own president supports it but let us think this through. Yes, we don’t want people to die, but how do we know that the victim being tortured actually holds important information. If that is not convincing enough, who else is getting hurt by this one person being tortured. The victim of torture could have a child, loved one, or a parent and one of these people could be hurt in efforts to torture the true victim. And then what happens if all the effort to saving these lives is put into torturing one person that may or may not have the necessary information to save these lives. These people die in vain because all the efforts toward savior were put in the wrong place. There are more reasons than just that it may not work though. One is morale. How could you advocate torture? Torture is inhumane. Would you want your loved one be tortured? It is not just one person who receives pain when torture occurs and by being supportive of torture you might as well be the
person torturing another human being. Another reason is the law against cruel and unusual punishment. It is illegal in the United States to inflict cruel and unusual punishment towards a person whether he or she is a citizen or not. Therefore, torture should not be allowed in any ways or for any circumstances because torture could easily be considered cruel and unusual punishment (Pines 561). Torture has it circumstances where many could say it is justified, but no one can ever be sure if whom they are torturing has the information for you reasons behind torturing. If you spend your timing time torturing this one person in hopes of saving lives, yet you don’t succeed it then becomes the torturer’s fault that lives our lost for putting the efforts in the wrong place. But also no matter how you look at torture it is never humane. Torture can affect someone in the harshest ways mentally and physically. That is why it is illegal within the Unites States. It is cruel and unusual punishment. With it being illegal here, torture induced by our citizens representing out country should not be legal either—no matter the location. Therefore, efforts should be made to ratify McCain’s Amendment and torture in any way dealing with the United States should be illegal. And if someone representing the United States participates in torture they should be prosecuted and punished for their acts of cruel and unusual punishment.
Hardi, Lilla, and Adrienne Kroo. “The Trauma of Torture and the Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors.” Journal of Pschology 219.3 (2011): 133-42. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.
Pines, Daniel. “Rendition Operations: Does U.S. Law Impose Any Restrictions?” Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 42.3 (2011): 523-83. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.
Vicaro, Michael. “A Liberal Use Of “Torture”: Pain, Personhood, And Precedent In The U.S. Federal Definition of Torture.” Rhetoric and Public Affairs 14.3 (2011): 401-26.Communication and Mass Media Complete. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.