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Torture

  • Date Submitted: 03/20/2010 01:13 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57 
  • Words: 562
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When is it Okay to Torture?
The word torture means different things for everybody. The Oxford Dictionary definition is “infliction of severe pain as a punishment or a forcible means of persuasion,” but to me it means violating ones natural rights. Many people say that they think torture is wrong, but don’t give much thought about the moral dilemmas that one faces when making the choice to use ''coercive interrogation" (ReasonOnline) as a way of receiving information. Most of the people who blatantly say that they are anti-torture are never put in a position where it is the only mean to save innocent lives, whether it is 1 or 1,000,000. Michael Levin said, “There are situations in which torture is not merely permissible but morally mandatory. Moreover, these situations are moving from the realm of imagination to fact.” In my eyes, only in extreme situations in which innocent lives are stake is it permissible to consider torture as a means of information gathering.
A well known scenario that forces people to choose between violating ones natural rights and saving innocent lives is the situation where a bomb that will kill a million people is going to detonate in a short two hours. You have captured the one person who could give you information that will save millions of innocent lives, but he won’t talk. People who are anti-torture argue that 6 out of 10 times torture is used, it is a false positive (Barnet 804) and that a sixty percent chance of failure is too big of a risk. What about the forty percent chance of saving millions of human lives? I think that a forty percent chance of saving innocent people is better than having no chance at all and it is morally wrong to not be willing to take a chance when there are lives on the line, even if it does means that one person has to suffer. I don’t think that one (guilty) man’s well-being is more important than a million innocent lives.
That is a very unlikely situation, but in today’s world that is filled with...

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