The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Should terrorists be tortured for acquiring information?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 615 times Debate No: 58741
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I am entirely in favor of this motion. Terrorists have taken the lives of thousands of innocent civilians for achieving their motive. I believe they must be punished, to an extent where they can see death at their vicinity. Many people who expostulate against torturing criminals claim that it is impractical and ineffective and that the information provided by these terrorists are often falsified, I would like to say that, there is no other option. If you have captured a terrorist and that the terrorist is a gold-mine of information it would be entirely impractical to hang him or arrest him. That would certainly not make him open up. To procure information from that particular person it is necessary to torture that person if talking won't help. It instills a sense of fear in the wrong-doer. I am entirely in accord with this motion.


I take the position that torturing terrorists will not solve the world's problems. There is nothing constructive in torturing people as thousands of other terrorists are still on the loose. It is also inhumane, biblically wrong, and morally wrong. Why torture? Why not co-operation? Or a severe jail sentence? Exile? There's plenty of options available. Torture is ineffective compared to other methods of acquiring information.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to put in your kind information that terrorists are not only tortured for post actions. Have you heard of the ticking-time bomb scenario?. It is a scenario where there is a bomb in a heavily populated area(usually public places), which can detonate at any time. The security officials then capture the person who knows all about this... what are you going to do now?. You have no other method except torturing for acquiring information . Terrorists are ruthless human beings, they are not afraid of death, they believe that whatever they are doing is for the good. Though the lives of thousands are at stake. Therefore , it will only be practical to torture them in such a way, that they can see death at their vicinity but are not dying. I do not consider the people who torture them to be inhumane. Why would you ever call a person who is torturing one sinner in order to save the lives of thousands of innocent people inhumane,dirty and immoral ?. I believe that exile and severe jail sentence will do nothing. The egregious fact is will waste time. Some terrorist might even commit suicide. The success rate is absolutely zero. As you said that there are methods of acquiring information as compared to torture. I request you to kindly elaborate.


I'd be more worried about the bomb than the terrorist, i'd actually try to find it using the best resources available. Torture is not the way, what if he doesn't break in time? We're screwed anyway. Worse, terrorists are not afraid of death and are ruthless, so torturing them will then be ineffective huh? One method is co-operation and intelligence. People who found Osama didn't torture their way through, they used intelligence. Sorry, but if someone had to torture another human being to save my life, i would not be grateful, despite the criminal being very evil.
Debate Round No. 2


I would like to make a point. Terrorists are also human beings. It is easy saying that you will not budge an inch and keep your mouth closed at any costs. There is only a certain amount of pain an ordinary human body can withstand no matter how tough the person may be in appearance and physique. There is a high probability where the person may blurt out some information which can prove to be useful. You quoted the example of Al-Qaeda and Osama. How are you 100% sure that they have not tortured anybody at all?. Procuring intelligence information is not anybody's cup of tea. It requires tedious work and many-a-times torturing and violence is involved. To capture Osama or any terrorist for that matter, the rudimentary task is to have a solid proof against them. The proof was already broadcasted in national television. U.S.A has used a lot of resources and enormous amounts of military expenditures to locate them, by bombing countries to search for him. Isn't this a form of torturing presented vaguely?. Instead of one person torturing another person, It is one country torturing another country for locating the terrorist. The U.S. military have saved your lives and have prevented hell from breaking loose, prevented U.S.A and it's civilization from being tarnished and war-torn. Would you still be ungrateful to them and brood on the "torturing" fact, or rejoice along with the rest of The U.S.A. In the ticking-time bomb scenario, it is better to do something (torturing) than doing nothing. At the least you might have made some progress and may even be able to locate the bomb and diffuse it. I am looking forward to more contradictions from your side.


Terrorists will most likely not talk. French prosecutors attempted to torture many individuals and very few people talked while the rest couldn't say anything (1). The probability that someone will talk is low. Furthermore, someone can lie in order to escape harsh punishment. An example is as follows, New York times reported:

"The Bush administration based a crucial pre-war assertion about ties between Iraq and Al-Qaeda on the detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he fabricated them to escape harsh treatment...after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition" (2)

I will quote from the CIA's 1963 "Torture manual in its entirety, Part IV"

"Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex "admissions" that take still longer to disprove. KUBARK is especially vulnerable to such tactics because the interrogation is conducted for the sake of information and not for police purposes." (3)

According to a news report, torture DID NOT lead the U.S to find Osama (4). Another one also shows how torture was used and does not work to get intel (5).

There is strong evidence to show that torture does not produce results. In conclusion, terrorists should not be tortured for getting information.


1. See generally Rejali, Darius, 5 myths about torture, Washington Post, December 16 2007 available at

2. Jehl, Douglas, Qaeda-Iraq link US Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim, N.Y.Times, Dec 9, 2005



Debate Round No. 3


Firstly, I would like to thank my opponent for his meticulous explanations and a straightforward debate.You seem to be claiming that terrorists often fabricate the interrogators in order to escape. Sometimes, this is not possible. Interrogators who torture can make use of an entirely foolproof lie detector. If these resources are not available then it is just a matter of sheer luck. I would like to put in my opponent's kind information that the Government(I am speaking of the U.S.A government for this case,but it can be applied to any government for this matter.) might deny facts, the world is quite vague many of the secrets might be hidden. Torture cannot be carried out like a farce. It needs to be carried out with prior and meticulous planning (which I believe every nation's security officials do keep in mind). You keep emphasizing on how intelligence can be used as an alternative instead of mere torturing. With the use of modern technologies by intelligence services and the co-operation and exchanges of information between different intelligence agencies around the world, the likelihood of catching the wrong person has slimmed significantly. If you consider the history of intelligence gathering and the various techniques, you see that it was a lengthy and painstaking operation. This proves a great level of caution in gathering information and suggests that modern intelligence agencies do not take the risk of accidently accusing an innocent.Terrorists or spies view their morality as above the law. So, they have no incentive to co-operate under normal circumstances. However, the victim is psychologically broken down, because extreme physical suffering makes the victim think of nothing but the pain and the prospect of pain. Everything the victim thinks of is shaped by the experiences of interrogation. The terrorist is made to feel powerless and dependent, because somebody else is controlling what they feel and think. When a torturer has this much power over someone the victim's only aim is to please their torturer, because they seem to be so powerful and important. The suspect is then made to hand over the needed information. Even if they give misleading information, an agency can check and, if the information was false, they can continue to torture, until honest information is given. If people do say anything under torture it is likely that some of it will be true. Thus, I would like to conclude from my part that torturing is just.
I would like to leave any judgement to the voters and I would like to close the debate with this point.


My rebuttal is that my opponent has not given scientific or psychological evidence of his views in comparison to mine and would have us assume his claims to be correct, thus I rest my case that torture will not work on terrorists.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Politicallion 2 years ago
@nkosi I have debated only once.. which I have lost. I made my account earlier but only was active a month back.
Posted by nkosi 2 years ago
I dont know why but i dont feel like debating anymore kkkkk. Seems like they'v done it more before
Posted by Politicallion 2 years ago
@roylatham thanks !!!!!!
Posted by RoyLatham 2 years ago
This topic benefits from reading old debates on the subject. Use the DDO search function. Here is one of my old debates:
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con proved torture often causes false testimony.