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Torture: Can the U.S. justify it?
Politics

la3111
Jan 18, 2009
10 votes
10 debaters
2
2
2
1
1


+ Add Argument

4
Yes


thales
Jan 18, 2009
2 convinced
Rebuttal
Of course they can.

Not well, but they can..."rationalize" would be a closer word, but they both rely on an incredibly gullible audience.

 
vancam
Jan 19, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: Show

You could take pain levels out of the equation and question exactly how useful torture actually is in regards to returning reliable information.

Surely both sides can still apply common sense?

 
vancam
Jan 19, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: la3111 Show

What you raise is a very good reason not to torture and that is to avoid giving your enemy the justification to toture your people.

My point was merely meant to illustrate that 'levels of pain' isn't the way to decide whether torture is or isn't acceptable.

Applying logical thought to the products of toture i.e. reliable testimony or retalitatory toture, is a far more effective way to make the descision.

 
thoughtprocess
Jan 18, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
While I am personally against torture the U.S. can easily justify torture. They justify it by saying "we are the U.S.".

When has the U.S. had a moral high ground? When it was slaughtering Native Americans? Or when it was hanging slaves and forcing them to labor like animals? Or when it denied Cuba independence as well as the Philippines after the Spanish-American War? Or when it dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

The U.S. is recognized as a superpower and militarily it very much is "the" superpower. The only justification for torture that it needs is the fact that it feels like torturing. This nation will continue to do very bad things to a lot of people because it can. Unfortunately.

 
frankiej4189
Jan 18, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I don't know enough of the specifics about recent US Torture problems to offer a full opinion. I will say this however...

If you could prevent thousands of Americans dying by torturing a Terrorist into giving up key information, would you torture him?

 
frankiej4189
Jan 18, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: la3111 Show

It was simply a question. Certainly not a fantasy considering the numerous worldwide terrorist attacks that have been occuring over the past 15 years.

 

Jan 19, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: la3111 Show

And you know this for a fact that the suicide bombers/terrorists(not all terrorists are suicide martyrs fyi) would not reveal information under torture?

The US Defense has secured countless information that has been a boon to them. We foiled multiple attacks, not only over in the warzone but also at home, we arrested other terrorists and got infor out of them so yeah the information that the DoD gave us shows that tortuire does work...

 

Jan 19, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: frankiej4189 Show

thats the truth

 
+ Add Argument

6
No


la3111
Jan 18, 2009
2 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thoughtprocess Show

Maybe I should have phrased my question differently. Should the U.S. torture? And I'm not talking about isolated incidents on the battlefield. I'm talking about state-sponsored torture.

I don't think so. It's morally repugnant and serves no useful purpose.

 
orbistertius
Jan 18, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Justification is a tricky concept. I'd argue that there is no such thing as an action or belief that is always and forever justified, regardless of context. I say that because justification is by its very nature something DONE. It is a matter of stating and linking together the reasons you have for believing that you are correct. That is, justification is not some mystical thing that attaches to actions or beliefs the moment they come into being. Instead it is a relatively mundane act; a process wherein reasons are physically given to - and judged by - some real-life audience.

Crucially, different audiences may very well disagree as to what counts as sufficient justification. There just isn't such a thing as an ultimate, a priori justificatory standard. There are only our contingent, human ones.

So, my question is this: Justify to who?
Me? Never. Our Allies? I doubt it, but I could be wrong. Our enemies? Almost certainly not. The US public? It looks to be possible, though hopefully not so easy as I fear. God? Don't ask this heathen. The higher-ups in our current administration? They already have.

Maybe a better question would be: What do you think it would take to justify torture, and why is your standard the best one?

Disclaimer: Just because all justificatory standards are contingent doesn't mean they are all equally valid - so don't accuse me of that naive of a relativism. Instead, it just means that those standards, too, need to be justified to the relevant audience. There is no foundation you can ultimately and unobjectionably come to rest on. Instead you just keep digging until you get tired.

 
shypanda
Jan 19, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Can the U.S. justify torture? Yes, should the government choose to justify it then they could provide justification. Should they torture in the first place? No.

Regardless of what method it is (water boarding or no) we should not engage in torture for any reason. While I realize that our enemies have no mental reservations about the use of torture, I would not want to be tortured if captured. Despite this unrealistic idea that if we don't use it they won't, I would at least like to have the moral high ground.

I can't speak as to the validity of if the CIA employs torture techniques, but I know for a fact that the U.S. Army on the whole does not, and the individual violators of this position are punished. Overall detainees are treated extraordinarily well.

 
la3111
Jan 18, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
The points against torture are numerous, but the most important one is IT DOESN'T WORK. All of these "ticking time bomb" scenarios are fantasy right out of "24". That just does not happen in the real world. Another point against it: aren't we supposed to be the good guys? How in the world do we expect to keep our supposed moral superiority when we debase ourselves by stooping to the level of our enemies? If someone wants to argue we need to get down to our enemies level to really be effective in the war on terror, shouldn't we have rounded up all the German-Americans in WWII and burned them in ovens? Shouldn't we have gotten down to the German level to be really effective? I don't think the U.S. can seriously dictate to other countries when it doesn't follow the dictates of its own Constitution.

 

Jan 18, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I don't agree with torture whatsoever...too enemies, too domestic people, I think its cruel and unusual. I do believe however in tightening what is called torture. Denying a person food for 3 days isn't torture its punishment, punishments need to be tightened but thats just my opinion.

 
la3111
Jan 18, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: frankiej4189 Show

I mention that in my first argument. That's a fantasy. It doesn't happen in the real world. And why would someone willing to be a suicide bomber tell you anything?

 

Jan 19, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: frankiej4189 Show

But do the ends justify the means? The question pops up what is torture, how much is torture. Conservatives would say as long as it doesn't permanently damage them or kill them then hey its fine. Liberals would say that the smallest amount of pain is torture and shouldn't be allowed. So what is the middle ground that we, The US, can apply in this case?

 
la3111
Jan 19, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: vancam Show

What does common sense say about stooping to the level of one's enemies and employing their methods? Don't do it. It doesn't work.

 
frankiej4189
Jan 19, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: vancam Show

I havn't seen much evidence that either side could apply common sense to much of anything.

 
dueonmaplestreet
Jan 19, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
This argument has no real basis. They obviously do justify it, they continue to do it. I don't think there is a question as to if they can. Is it excusable? Is it acceptable? No. I am against torture. I believe that we need to hold our government and the people that we entrust in these positions to higher standards because they represent us. If they are doing reprehensible things they cast us in the same light for not holding them accountable. We are a world superpower and a leader and I don't believe that we uphold the standards that we enforce on others.


 
joneslennon
Mar 17, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: frankiej4189 Show

If we torture we should be in these same prisons

 


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