Torture Should be Able to be Used on Suspected Terrorists
Debate Rounds (4)
This Debate is about "Torture should be able to be used on suspected terrorists."
Torture- "the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something." (on top of that, for the purposes of this debate, I will include psychological torment such as waterboarding or sleep deprivation, I'm sure my opposition will agree and if not, don't accept)
Suspected- "have an idea or impression of the existence, presence, or truth of (something) without certain proof."
Terrorist- "a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims."
Terrorism- "the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims."
All definitions are direct quotes from www.dictionary.com
R4- Rebuttal/ Conclusion
Torture shouldn"t be used on anyone, including suspected terrorists. I believe this because torture is extremely unethical, proves nothing and is outlawed by the Geneva Convention.
Torture as explained above is inflict serious pain/discomfort or psychological distress to get a confession or the subject to perform a task. For starters, it"s unethical, a crime against humanity, inflicting so much pain on one person to get them to bend to your will is a horrendous thought. From a young age, society has taught us "treat other how you"d like to be treated", clearly this isn"t demonstrating that phrase (unless you"re a masochist)
Next, it proves absolutely nothing against the person. Torture forces you to confess. Keyword being "forces". Thus meaning, you may be innocent of everything but because you want the suffering to end you plead guilty/confess, it"s a very catch 22 moment. It is estimated that one in four people make false confessions if evidence against them is great. But it is estimated that up to two thirds of people put in torture conditions will make false confessions! "www.innocenceproject.org
Finally, it is outlawed by the Geneva Convention. I"m going to assume you aren"t too concerned with the whole "following international law" thing. So, I lay down another reason. Whatever country you live in will be hated by the rest of the world for breaching this basic human right, regardless of the subject.
I look forward to hearing your intro, try hold back rebuttals to R3-4 but if you must, I won"t cry.
Considering we're talking about terrorists and the appropriate use of force against them, I believe it is reasonable to assume the organization that would be trying to combat these terrorists would be a government. With that I ask, what is a given governments tool(s) to combat terrorism? I argue that a governments tool(s) is their military and intelligence services, especially in the United States case being that they do not openly negotiate with terrorist groups and have set a precedent of not doing so, that rules out diplomatic avenues. Now given that our choices are between military force or intelligence services I now ask, what type of people are prone to volunteer for organizations such as the military, CIA, or the DIA? I argue that it is people more inclined to enjoy violence or at the very least not be inclined to be apprehensive towards it.
Now truly if a government is going to engage in a "War on Terror" the given government would by essence be encouraging the respective recruits of the war to kill and maim terrorists. I don't mean to sound crass but I am absolutely certain a bomb or a bullet is going to cause significant amount of pain and trauma in some cases much worse than the pain that would be endured in a typical torture session.
I point to the definition that Con provided on torture and the part about punishment I believe essential to my argument. The personnel that are engaging in this so called war have seen their friends and countless civilians harmed and killed by terrorists. Remember as I stated before I believe human nature to be evil and lustful to cause pain,therefore I find torture to be the correct punishment for terrorists and I also find it to be a worthy retribution to the personnel that are affected the most and have lost the most from the terrorists let alone it allows the personnel that are more inclined to violence to release their rage, immorality, and also to release their self deprecation (albeit for a short intense moment in time) on a person I would deem to not be worthy of human/natural rights.
The last point I would like to make (I will try not to make this a rebuttal but will revisit it in future rounds) is if the Innocence Project is to be believed that "up to two thirds" of people tortured lie to stop the torturing, what is a governments obligations to protect it's citizens and interests from terrorists? I argue it is the complete obligation of a government to do everything in it's power to try and mitigate civilian harm and casualties but if the government has a suspected terrorists and has a 33% of extracting correct intelligence that could save hundreds if not thousands of lives or lead to the capture or killing of other terrorists it is not only the correct but brutal decision it is also the moral decision because frankly terrorists don't deserve to be protected over civilians or personnel working for a given government.
I will not get into the Geneva Convention in this round as it would be unfair to rebut considering I will have the last word in this debate.
My main counter-argument to Pro is the fact that she or he (please tell me so I don't have to do this every time) has forgotten that these are only suspected terrorists. In the country that I live in, New Zealand, there are 24 suspected terrorists as released by the government as of 2014, two of which are under 24/7 surveillance (www.stuff.co.nz). Now if these 24 were confirmed terrorists, they would be behind bars for life without chance of parole (NZ doesn't have the death penalty) but instead, the Pro argument is that we can torture these 24, (possibly innocent) people for a confession. This leads on nicely to my next rebuttal.
In the last point, my opponent says and I quote " 33% of extracting correct intelligence". Yes, that's all well and good but let's put this in perspective if Suspects A, B and C all say they are guilty, two of which are innocent but want to escape the torture and one is truly guilty, if this technique worked you should be able to tell me the two innocents and the guilty, but you can't and if you can, lucky guess. The truth is, yes, you can get 33% correct intelligence but you can't differentiate it from the 66% of false information.
My opponent constantly referred to Hobbes stating that human nature is evil, and to that I agree, humans by our nature are selfish, sadistic, greedy bastards (excuse my French). That doesn't by any means permit breaking international laws designed to make our lives as good as possible.
And my final rebuttal is less dramatic, just something that annoyed me when I read you debate. Pro stated "bomb or a bullet is going to cause significant amount of pain and trauma in some cases much worse than the pain that would be endured in a typical torture session". A bullet, assuming through the hand, the most painful place to get shot (www.quora.com), the pain is heavily suppressed by adrenaline until you can receive medical attention/ pain killers. A bomb is a different although similar story, assume you had a leg blown off, you'd know without a doubt you leg was missing but again the adrenaline kicks in and supresses the pain. Like I said, not dramatic, just annoyed me.
Now onto my substantial argument:
Terrorism, as we (should) know is not the way to go, killing civilians, destroying world heritage sites like Islamic State, and general terror tactics are all outlawed by international law. This debate, if boiled down to the roots, could be defined as "do two wrongs make a right?" as torture, regardless of the subject is outlawed internationally. I believe that torture is simply not the way to go, we are dropping our standards, morals and tactics to terrorism levels, and although we could be the five year olds and say "they started it", we should be the bigger man, take the higher moral ground and thus get the support of the general public on side with us against this war on terror.
Furthermore, you mentioned the USA in your first paragraph so for the purposes of this argument I will use it, assuming you live in the US, you may have an advantage over me being a foreigner. Anyway, the US has signed and ratified the "United Nations Convention against Torture" (www.wikipedia.com + general knowledge) which means that they must turn their backs on this treaty which clearly stated in the article of "Ban on Torture"."No exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict. In other words, torture cannot be justified as a means to protect public safety or prevent emergencies".
Not only that, but as I've stated before, is a breach of the human right "Freedom from torture". Meaning not only with the US be turning it's back on the "United Nations Convention against Torture" and the "Geneva Conventions of 1949", but also Basic Human Rights! Can you imagine the backlash by other nations as well as protests and riots from in the US. Trade embargos, travel restrictions, internal discontent, and those are some of the more peaceful outcomes, civil war or even a coalition of countries may attack the US.
If you think this is a justifiable and solid solution to the war on terror, you must be mad, terror attacks would do less damage than letting the world attack you over dishonouring treaties.
Looking forward to your rebuttals and main arguments. Your intro was very well worded and reasoned.
Con stated that my argument towards suspected terrorists in a New Zealand prison is that they should be tortured for a confession. I will point out that the given country has domestic laws that I would assume prevent government officials from torturing any and all subjects without any leeway. It does not take anymore than I would say grade school teaching to be able to differentiate between a war fought with soldiers (I will refer to terrorists that fight for their cause as soldiers) and intelligence officials and also counter terror operations conducted by police and the respective governments national police (In the United States case the FBI). Why should we make this distinction you ask? Because my argument that con read with much vigor never stated anything about domestic terror operations in fact the entirety of my argument was based solely on a "War on Terror" fought by a given governments respective military and intelligence services. How Con took my argument of our military and intelligence officials being allowed to torture in war times and inflated it to also include a respective governments national and local police forces ability to torture anyone is beyond me.
Next it is wrong for Con to assert I said their is a 33% chance of extracting correct intelligence without providing proper context, this was said in reference to the study Con himself had presented. I am glad that though Con agrees with his own studies but lets look at how he frames it. "The truth is, yes, you can get 33% correct intelligence but you can't differentiate it from the 66% of false information." Con simply does not understand how military's and intelligence services work, does con for instance think in his example of three terror suspects being tortured that none of their information would be checked and deemed correct or incorrect information, why Con assumes that that a torturer would take information and just accept it as fact is illogical.
Con also asserts that international laws should govern how countries defend and protect their respective citizens and interest, but Con uses the Geneva Convention and United Nations Convention against Torture, now either Con understands that these two examples are prudent too affect how a government acts against a given adversary during a war, and therefor should understand that his argument and mine have never included how a government in domestic instances should act, or Con was simply trying to lie about what I said and believe. Despite this I will accept the fact that as of now International law does in fact disallow torture even when a government has agreed to the Geneva Convention and the UN Assembly treaties and their adversary has not, but I will argue that this debate is not whether a government can torture terrorist suspect under given laws but if "Torture Should be Able to be Used on Suspected Terrorists" despite these laws and treaties.
On to what my friend also stated, that freedom from torture is a human right. I completely disagree I will point to what I stated before that these specific people during this so called war on terror have lost all human rights during this time that they are captive to the given governments military or intelligence services even if they're an innocent. I say this because I do not value an individuals rights over the rights and well being of the country or the given governments interests. I also want to point out that apparently Con has not followed the news of the United States international relations because after the 2014 midterm elections, Senator Diane Fienstein of California released the senate intelligence committees report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program http://www.feinstein.senate.gov... which showed the extent at which the CIA had tortured individuals. Has the U.S. suffered a civil war? Has the U.S. suffered trade embargoes? Has the U.S. suffered astronomical "riots, internal discontent, and travel restrictions?" Or maybe based on what Con stated the U.S. has faced countless attacks by a plurality of the UN? No it has not and will continue to not suffer from the correct decisions of it's government because Con is on the wrong side of this argument.
"If you think this is a justifiable and solid solution to the war on terror, you must be mad, terror attacks would do less damage than letting the world attack you over dishonoring treaties." Sure if the world attacked the U.S. I would completely agree that a low scale terrorist attack would not do as much damage as the majority of countries attacking the U.S. but I have proven this is simply stupid, Con has made an assertion that the U.S. would face insurmountable aggression from "the world" maybe Con requires a history lesson on the role of the U.S. to the world because this would never happen.
I will stand by all arguments I have made but I will not stand by and let my friend here distort my argument and put words into my mouth that I have not and would never stand by. I refer back to all my arguments I have made because Con has not rebutted my arguments. I hope though that Con has peace of mind and is not annoyed by my arguments again.
Pro clearly didn't read his own link...
The study"s 20 findings and conclusions can be grouped into four central themes, each of which is supported extensively in the Executive Summary:
1.The CIA"s "enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective.
2.The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.
3.The CIA"s management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed.
4.The CIA program was far more brutal than the CIA represented to policymakers and the American public."
These are just the key findings, go to the link to see more, but this is a brief summery. So, I will admit I hadn't kept up with 2014 American politics but by the look of this... I'm sorry, I'm shocked to see this in YOUR argument. Numerous times, the CIA's "enhanced interrogation methods/techniques" aka torture, are referred to as inadequate, deeply flawed and ineffective showing that torture is clearly not the way to go, instead we should spend more time and money on things like surveillance and more peaceful methods of interrogation, for America, negotiating life imprisonment vs the death penalty, or in countries w/o the death penalty, more luxuries in prison, such as television.
In this article you have linked (man, really thanks!), it also mentions once or twice the catch 22 moment of torturers being unable to tell the difference between false information, so you've blown another one of your own points out of the water.
Pro's third rebuttal wasn't as easy to shut down, but still, a country shouldn't betray its own word. I agree, this debate isn't can we, it's should we and it's simply immoral to say one thing and then do another, especially on a subject as touchy as torture.
And finally, Pro seems to think that my example of discontent among public was hot air. Then surely there should be no protests against torture. Right?
"On April 30, 2009, 62 members of Witness Against Torture, led by Carmen Trotta were arrested at the gates of the White House demanding that the Obama administration support a criminal inquiry into torture under the Bush administration and release innocent detainees still held at Guantanamo" (www.theguardian.com)
"Donning orange jumpsuits and black hoods, dozens of demonstrators in San Francisco today urged the immediate closure of the American detention and interrogation camp at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay. Joined by peace activist Cindy Sheehan, the protesters also called for an end to torture of detainees in U.S. custody. "It's important that the U.S. not engage in acts of terror," said Joe McAleese of Pleasant Hill. "To me, it is immoral."" (www.worldcantwait.net)
"Nationwide Protests Against Torture Planned For Jan 31 In The US #EndTorture" (www.trueactivist.com)
Just to name a few.
My opponent also stated that one individual rights do not outweigh that of a nation/city/town/community/etc. "frankly terrorists don't deserve to be protected over civilians or personnel working for a given government". Potentially, although you must consider... 1. You are innocent until proven guilty and 2. " torture cannot be justified as a means to protect public safety or prevent emergencies" (Human Rights)
So, in conclusion, I think that it is clear the torture is not the way to go in terms of getting intelligence on terrorists. Protests are getting stronger, it has been proven ineffective, it's extremely immoral, it's showing that America's word means nothing, and simply out-dated. We should instead, invest our time and money of the CIA, DIA, Secret Service, whatever, into surveillance, maybe into spying (that's a debate for another day), into more effective, less cruel interrogation methods.
Thank you for this debate
Concluding from what I have read from my friend's last attempt was that he missed the entire point and did not understand my argument in the slightest. Lets clarify them again. I do not believe torture to be moral or the best solution to terrorism. I do however argue that the practice of torture continue not only because according to my friends own studies (although never linked to) there is a 33% chance of extracting correct intelligence from a given terrorist but, also because human nature is immoral and we wish to cause pain and for these soldiers and intelligence officials that have endured countless personal losses, witnessed enormous civilian casualties, and also that are continuously put into harms way by terrorists deserve retribution in the form of being able to torture a terrorist that does not deserve human rights as my friend likes to say. Without this retribution the soldiers and intelligence officials we constantly order to break morality in the form of drone attacks, special forces missions, and clandestine operations would face insurmountable stress, psychological disorders, and the feeling of neglect and abandonment from there government because they would feel that the losses they have endured did not matter enough to their government.
Again do not conflate my argument to saying torture is moral in the first argument I posted I specifically said "I find torture to be the correct punishment for terrorists and I also find it to be a worthy retribution to the personnel that are affected the most and have lost the most from the terrorists let alone it allows the personnel that more inclined to violence to release their rage, immorality, and also to release their self deprecation (albeit for a short intense moment in time) on a person I would deem to not be worthy of human/natural rights." Am I arguing that people accept torture as moral? Or am I saying that despite the immorality of torture it is necessary?
Now lets get into the torture report by Senator Diane Fienstein, my friend asserts I have not read my own linked report perhaps my friend did not read my argument instead. Except for context to my friends own studies I ask, when did I make it a point to assert torture is an effective way to gather intelligence? To the contrary I recognized the 33% chance given by my friends study and said we should also allow torture for retribution, can there truly be a way to measure the effect moral boosts can have on our soldiers and intelligence officials? Had we not allowed the barbaric practices to continue it is uncertain how effective our personnel would be given they would have felt there government does not value them. I will lump his 2nd and 4th point together as it can be summed up quite easily. The CIA lies to congress and the CIA also lies to the public. His 3rd point "The CIA's management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed" perhaps it can be run by different people that are better managers but how one agency's disorganization should affect a practice to the point it be banned altogether is not how most organizations work. Does google for instance hire coders to work on android and receive the coders final work deems it inadequate and then quit? No it hires different coders to make a better product and fires the people that can't do their jobs. My friend also says he is "shocked" to see this as my argument because "Numerous times, the CIA's 'enhanced interrogation methods/techniques' aka torture are referred to as inadequate, deeply flawed and ineffective showing that torture is clearly not the way to go." It's apparent again my friend does not understand but I will try to help him, the report refers to specific instances where torture was inadequate unless the desired outcome was retribution which I argue for.
I also find it important to point out that I have also not argued for torture to be the only method of intelligence gathering or punishment just that it should be one of the options. My friend states "Instead we should spend more time and money on things like surveillance and more peaceful methods of interrogation, for America, negotiating life imprisonment vs. the death penalty, or in countries w/o the death penalty, more luxuries in prison, such as television." That's all well and good if you do not scrap torture and use my friends example as another helpful tool in addition to being able to torture.
"In this article you have linked (man, really thanks!), it also mentions once or twice the catch 22 moment of torturers being unable to tell the difference between false information, so you've blown another one of your own points out of the water." Apparently according to my friend the fact that "once or twice" (out of an investigation that spanned the course of 2002-2009 and also upwards of 100 detainees) the personnel were unable to verify the person or persons information means I blew my entire argument out the water, instead I argue that it is impossible to work every time like I and my friend have said we have come to agree on his own study that there is a 33% chance of correct information however with what my friend just provided if they're are only a maximum of two examples he can point to where this "catch 22 moment" happened then by essence this program was much more effective than my friend had said was possible. My friend here should take the first thoughts that jump into his head and think a little more vigorously about them.
"Pro's third rebuttal wasn't easy to shut down." Yes something we can agree on because my friend did not and could not shutdown this argument because it is a fact. However he states "a country shouldn't betray its own word." Perhaps my friend truly does not understand how the world works, every single country in history has "betrayed" its own words and every single country will continue to do so if it is in their best interest. In the interests of New Zealand as my friend referred to before let's make a point of showing how the U.S. and New Zealand differ it has a population of about 4.5 million people according to the UN, a GDP of $185 billion (U.S. dollars to clarify) according to the world bank, and in 2015 their military budget was $2.24 billion. The U.S. on the other hand has a population of 318.9 million according the U.S. Census Bureau, a GDP of $16.77 trillion (World Bank) , and a military budget of $495 billion according the the DoD comptroller. Possibly my friend was thinking about what could happen too New Zealand because it is not a considerable force by any means, perhaps in his own words "the world" would attack such a small country that could not give any retaliatory consequences to an adversary except possibly, Djibouti? It's laughable my friend thinks of the U.S. as just a country that can be dictated to, my friend the U.S. is the one doing the dictating.
Lets move on to his last point. "Pro seems to think that my example of discontent among public was hot air. Then surely there should be no protests against torture. Right?" The only way to explain this is the U.S. is a republic it has many different opinions from many different walks of life. The government could make water a public utility free to everyone and there would still be people protesting, but lets smack this argument down too forgoing that people will protests anything because out of 318 million people it is impossible to all agree. Does my friend honestly believe that 62 people protesting is an adequate number of people that should be listened too? Maybe in New Zealand with such a small population but 62 people in America do not and would never be able to force a debate because there is such a large number of citizens with differing opinions. Perhaps according to my friend because I favor government sponsored medicare for all in the U.S. I only need to bring another 61 people with me and protests? Since my friend lacks the ability to post a link I have done it for him http://www.trueactivist.com... . This is was a total of 12 protests technically "nationwide" but sadly only 12 cities, does anyone remember the Tea Party protests? This was a real protests with considerable numbers that actually did something http://fivethirtyeight.com... over 300 thousand participants were voicing their discontent with the government. So, my friend, I ask where is this large discontent in the U.S. that should be listened to? Or is it that because you believe one thing that you think it should be put into effect over the will of the people?
My friend constantly refers to the Geneva Convention. As I have stated before and my friend has agreed "this debate isn't can we, it's should we?" we both have agreed that it is illegal to torture given current laws.He then goes onto say "1.you are innocent until proven guilty and 2.'torture cannot be justified as a mean to protect public safety or prevent emergencies."' then he cites "Human Rights" what are you even quoting? It's hard to argue a human right considering I don't believe they deserve them and my friend here does so it is a circle of argument's that will not be settled. Again though why do you keep trying to change the topic to given laws possibly my friend suffers from short term memory loss.
I ask for torture to be allowed in war times by our military and intelligence services for two: reasons it has the possibility of working to learn new intelligence; and also as a punishment/retribution for their crimes against the civilized world and their respective country of origin. Do I think there are better ways to achieve intelligence? Yes, but I also believe torture can be a tool used among others, I have not argued for the dissolution of any other tool in this debate only continuation of this one.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.