The Instigator
jinzy
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Gear
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

America had no business using torture as a way of getting information.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/10/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 980 times Debate No: 3164
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (7)

 

jinzy

Pro

Bush has just vetoed a law that would make certain forms of torture illegal citing that those methods are needed in order to obtain needed information on the war on terror. I disagree with this viewpoint for the following reasons: 1) No information obtained through torture is reliable. 2) What we do to others will be done to our own people. 3) The end doesn't justify the means. And lastly, as with all of the actions regarding the war on terror, it is slippery slope that, as American citizens, will come back to bite us on the butt.

This is my first debate. Hopefully I will not embarrass myself too badly.
Gear

Con

When it comes down to the security of not simply the American people, but also countries elsewhere that have had to deal with Terrorist attacks, such as England or Spain, we have seen an issue that could have been solved had we been more persistent in our goal of the prevention of terrorism. Be it either by an increase of funding, or by means like you have stated-Means in either physical or psychological traumatic situations incline the target to reveal information that would otherwise be unobtainable. In this-That we can cause the suffering of one to prevent the deaths and/or suffering of many.

In that, the action is justified. As a sectarian society where religion is not accepted, we must look to the ideas of Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra- in that based on how humanity killed God, the moral order imposed by Christianity could no longer be utilized. Because of that, mankind must recreate their values, and thus, the new moral order that is to be used is clear and quite so indeed-The utilitarian order. We place the greatest good for the greatest number as our priority. There is no moral objections because there is nothing to predicate a moral objection upon.

Think of the outcry of the population-How many people would find torture wrong if we could have, utilizing Torture, prevented 9/11? Is it still questionable then?

We have prevented hundreds if not thousands of terrorist attacks since 9/11. Look to the statistics of plotting terrorists being caught. Staggering, our methods of preventing terrorism have allowed a grand total of 0 attacks to be made on the US since 9/11, even there are those who think they are wrong-Their efficacy is undeniable.

Moreover, look to the thoughts of other major philosophers, those like John Locke, or others on the rights to man. Most if not all conclude that once an individual violates the law of man, they forfeit their claim to it. Therefore, when Terrorists conspire in the effort to bring death and destruction to humanity, they lose their claim to law, and we may extract information as we see fit. If they torture

If what we do to others is reflected on our own people, there are a still a couple of reasons why this argument should be rejected. First, clearly, the only ones of ours that have been negatively affected are our soldiers, and in reality, that simply comes down to US soldiers and Insurgents killing each other, not the background conditions which facilitated said killing of each other. And second, if anything, recognize that we are retaliating to what the terrorists did on 9/11. This more readily applies to those who designed and carried out the 9/11 attacks.

And finally, the ends most certainly justify the means. First, The media's opposition and portrayal of torture is going to be based upon a dislike of the political right, opposing Conservatives just to oppose Conservatives. Second, you have no foundations in logic to state that a single terrorist is more important than many civilians. The terrorist-Of whom would gladly kill you, your family and your friends, or civilians (Excluding Soldiers, criminals, etc.) would do nothing of the sort. Bottom line. If we stop even two unnecessary, innocent deaths because of the means we used to extract information from one who would otherwise do us harm, we have justified the act.
Debate Round No. 1
jinzy

Pro

Point 1: A governmental official at Camp X-ray speaking in regards to human rights violations among detainees stated, "if you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you're probably aren't doing your job…." Unfortunately this is the current mentally of our government; whatever the means as long as it has the desired outcome. Apparently this is also the view point of the American public. About.com did an internet poll regarding the use of torture and the results were surprising. There was a 65% approval rate for the use of torture. 49% of those responding said that torture was acceptable under any condition, 7% said torture was acceptable to prevent acts of terror and 9% were in favor it help prevent an upcoming act of terror. It is the role of government to protect those who cannot reasonably protect themselves or for whatever reason, aren't given a sufficient voice even if the majority believes otherwise. Segregation and slavery are prime examples of the government having to make decisions for the sake of a minority that are against the expressed desires of the majority.

Point 2: There isn't enough oversight to prevent abuses. In addressing the Ninth Circuit Court, the government stated that "the detainees have absolutely no legal right to question US actions on Guantanamo." They further argued that Federal Court should have no jurisdiction. This would mean that the government would be able to seize and torture at will without sufficient evidence this action would provide beneficial or that the individual has the knowledge the government seeks. There would be no courts for any prisoner to appeal to. This reduces the US to the same level as Stalin, Hitler, Sadam Hussein and other bloody dictatorships. How can this elevate the US in the eyes of international politics and within its own borders? I am all for patriotism, but being patriotic does not mean we forgo reason and compassion.

Point 3: Inflicting random pain will not get you the results you desire. An effective torturer must be recruited, trained and properly equipped in order to get the desired effect. There would also need to be basic scientific research on the most effective means of torture. There also would need to be guidelines established to say when this form of interrogation is appropriate and when it is not. Also needed would be some form of checks and balances to ensure that it is only used within established guidelines. It needs to be shown that the financial cost of using torture more cost effective than other established means of gathering information. I could not find one cited instance where torture has used to obtain valuable and useful information in the War on Terror that could have been obtained through other means. All of this would be a great expenditure with questionable results. With the war costing billions per day and individuals in this country going hungry, medical care and without shelter, can we morally justify the expense?

Point 4: One also must consider the psychological, emotional and spiritual cost to the person conducting the torture. We all know the damage the stress of combat can do to an individual in combat as well as the psychological impact of accidental collateral damage to the innocent. What kind of damage will be done to the individual who assumes the role of torturer? How will this individual be able to reconcile his profession with his religious/moral compass? When a person accidently takes the life of another person, the psychological trauma is great. Great mental and emotional trauma is inflicted on an individual who must inflict pain and suffering on others for days and weeks at a time. To strip a person of all human dignity which leaves permanent wounds that are both physical and emotional would be difficult enough when the person is thought to be guilty or withholding valuable information. What would be the damage to the individual who does this only to find out that the person was innocent or was not in possession of the needed information? Do we use amoral individuals who can shut off any feelings or compassion for another individual who is suffering? What does that say about society as a whole who would employ an individual for such as purpose?

Point 5: The use of torture is a slippery slope. Wire taping and other devices used in the War on Terror are slowly being used against the American people. Abuses are rampant with the court being able to do little to contain the problem. It wouldn't be long until one of us could be one of those innocents who are sacrificed for the good of the many.

References:

ttp://www.usafa.edu...

http://writ.news.findlaw.com...
Gear

Con

Prior to my responding to your newer arguments, it's necessary to point out that you simply ignored reasons in advocating of Torture, or at least why Torture is not wrong. These are huge in this debate.

Primarily look to Nietzsche's views on the end of a divinely-imposed moral order, which will be brought up later on. This is huge, for it guts the predication for moral objections.

Second, you ignore another huge point in that once an individual violates the laws of man, they lose their claim to said laws.

So, let's now look to your new reasons against torture.

[Point 1: A governmental official at Camp X-ray speaking in regards to human rights violations among detainees stated, "if you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you're probably aren't doing your job…." Unfortunately this is the current mentally of our government; whatever the means as long as it has the desired outcome. Apparently this is also the view point of the American public. About.com did an internet poll regarding the use of torture and the results were surprising. There was a 65% approval rate for the use of torture. 49% of those responding said that torture was acceptable under any condition, 7% said torture was acceptable to prevent acts of terror and 9% were in favor it help prevent an upcoming act of terror. It is the role of government to protect those who cannot reasonably protect themselves or for whatever reason, aren't given a sufficient voice even if the majority believes otherwise. Segregation and slavery are prime examples of the government having to make decisions for the sake of a minority that are against the expressed desires of the majority.]

This comparing is flawed for several reasons, first, look back to the Nietzschean philosophical standpoint, in that for the absence of the moral order, we must create new morals, with utilitarianism being the most readily apparent system. The greatest good for the greatest number, furthermore, the thoughts of those like John Locke, in that one who violates a major law of man loses their claim to this law. This affects terrorists or Slaves opposed a corrupt law, and Blacks in the 1960s, save for the initial speeches of Malcolm X, were peaceful in their obtaining of rights.

Any notion that these are peaceful individuals is ludicrous. The only individuals that will say that are those who are in opposition to the current administration. Actual examination reveals detained terrorists, those with connections to terrorists, etc. Not Joe Shmoe. (Or Mohammad Shmohammed, you get my drift). The media has an extraordinarily high propensity for opposing the political right in most endeavors. Of course they're going to make our operations at Gitmo sound as awful as possible. It's what they do. You're only going to get, at this juncture is that the statistics of the background information on detainees is at best, inconclusive.

[Point 2: There isn't enough oversight to prevent abuses. In addressing the Ninth Circuit Court, the government stated that "the detainees have absolutely no legal right to question US actions on Guantanamo." They further argued that Federal Court should have no jurisdiction. This would mean that the government would be able to seize and torture at will without sufficient evidence this action would provide beneficial or that the individual has the knowledge the government seeks. There would be no courts for any prisoner to appeal to. This reduces the US to the same level as Stalin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein and other bloody dictatorships. How can this elevate the US in the eyes of international politics and within its own borders? I am all for patriotism, but being patriotic does not mean we forgo reason and compassion.]

This clearly ties back to a prejudice media. Next, though, that the detained individuals don't have the right to question the actions of the US at Gitmo. And...? As those imprisoned are not civilians, and insurgents or terrorists, their claim to law doesn't exist. Keep in mind, this has been addressed. Furthermore, you compare the US to Stalin and Hitler. This is ridiculous. Hitler, of course, was responsible for World war II in Europe, better known as the deadliest conflict in history, at around seventy-two million deaths, and that isn't including the Holocaust, the US is not, and will never be like Nazi Germany. Unless we start bombing our own cities. And as for Stalin, certainly not. He ordered officer purges with body counts of higher than the holocaust, again, a terrible individual that can not at the present, and will never be comparable to the US actions for preventing terrorism.

[Point 3: Inflicting random pain will not get you the results you desire. An effective torturer must be recruited, trained and properly equipped in order to get the desired effect. There would also need to be basic scientific research on the most effective means of torture. There also would need to be guidelines established to say when this form of interrogation is appropriate and when it is not. Also needed would be some form of checks and balances to ensure that it is only used within established guidelines. It needs to be shown that the financial cost of using torture more cost effective than other established means of gathering information. I could not find one cited instance where torture has used to obtain valuable and useful information in the War on Terror that could have been obtained through other means. All of this would be a great expenditure with questionable results. With the war costing billions per day and individuals in this country going hungry, medical care and without shelter, can we morally justify the expense?]

...So those that torture are trained. I don't see where you're going with this. As for the cost-effectiveness of torture, of course you won't be able to locate information on its success, though you can see that our information gathering techniques are working, as we have averted all on-our-soil terrorist attacks since 9/11. You neglect a couple of pieces of information at this point. First, of course, is our media obfuscating all facts of the successes of the endeavors of this ministry. You'll only see the good works of the administration in foreign news. Second, is that it is republicans that are carrying out this task of torture. Also known as fiscal conservatives. They will not use torture if it is not a cost-effective method at gaining knowledge. Plain and simple.

[Point 4: One also must consider the psychological, emotional and spiritual cost to the person conducting the torture. We all know the damage the stress of combat can do to an individual in combat as well as the psychological impact of accidental collateral damage to the innocent...(Running out of room)]

We are not seeing those that carry out the torture with any sort of detriment. For an obvious reason: No terrorist attacks. For all of their actions, be they volatile to those making said acts, they find justification in that they are gaining necessary information to stop the innocent from death and destruction. The societal utilization has been answered, Nietzsche's TSZ, morals don't exist as we seem them now.

[Point 5: The use of torture is a slippery slope. Wire taping and other devices used in the War on Terror are slowly being used against the American people....]

Tell me, please, when wire tapping and other devices used for information gathering have negatively affected YOU. Can't provide any? Not surprising. The state has an obligation of securitization of national stability. Without means that contribute to said stability, everything is permissible. Our liberties only exist so long as we have an institution which ensures the existence of these liberties. Terrorism would most assuredly destroy this country, so using whatever means possible to stop the collapse is justifiable in every instance.
Debate Round No. 2
jinzy

Pro

First of all I have given you facts in my support of the statement that America has not business using torture to get information. I have proved facts in support of my stance, you have not. You quote John Locke and Nietzsche as if they were a voice on Mt Sinai is ludicrous. At this point I could quote Immanuel Kant who said who states that when a combatant willfully engages in warfare he has given his permission to be killed. Once that individual has given up his status as a combatant, he has withdrew his permission to be killed. It is Kant's stance that human dignity is beyond price. Kant goes on to say humanity is not a means to an end, but the end itself. We can go back and forth about what this philosopher said or that one but the truth is they are all dead and cannot fathom the times we live in and therefore their opinions are questionable at best. As I told my philosophy professor, their opinions are no better than mine just because they died before me.

As for the comparison to Hitler, it is a justified one. How many people were taken as political prisoners, imprisoned and tortured without warrant, trial or legal recourse? Their family left unaware of their fates. Isn't that what this country is currently engaging in?

As for the wire tapping against American citizens, this has been well documented. Constitutional rights have been violated left and right. Do I wait until the government is ready to drag me off in the middle of the night before I cry foul? Do I not have a responsibility to my fellow Americans? If one American's rights are violated are not all of our rights violated?

Your reference to 9/11 and subsequent terrorist activities on American soil is extremely flawed. In order for torture or any form of questioning to be effective one has to have some information that an event is to take place. One interrogates for specific information. To say that torture could have prevented 9/11 is to say the government had specific information concerning the attack. The government has denied this. Therefore this point is moot, unless you have specific and factual information to the contrary.

You have failed to back up any statement with fact. Instead you have used philosophical debate, the argument of one with no real position. The reason? You are unable to provide any factual proof that any valuable information has been obtained through torture.
Gear

Con

Gear forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by jinzy 9 years ago
jinzy
Hangs head in shame. Twenty lashes with a wet noodle. LOL
Posted by Korezaan 9 years ago
Korezaan
You ought to change "had" to "has", since it is still happening.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Gear 9 years ago
Gear
jinzyGearTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
jinzyGearTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by PreacherFred 9 years ago
PreacherFred
jinzyGearTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Korezaan 9 years ago
Korezaan
jinzyGearTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Bitz 9 years ago
Bitz
jinzyGearTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by jinzy 9 years ago
jinzy
jinzyGearTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Danielle 9 years ago
Danielle
jinzyGearTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30