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Torture is justified

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,601 times Debate No: 73736
Debate Rounds (3)
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Torture is justified.

Be it resolved that torture is justified. Being the proposition, representing the government, I defend this subject "

In a situation where lives are stake, national security is compromised and when we are left with no other choices to assure our safety and that of our loved ones torture is justified. However, before I move on into the arguments, allow me to define the two key words that are be used:
Torture is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as I quote, ""to cause someone pain, often in order to make them tell you something""
Justified-or to justify, means something done for a good and legitimate reason.

i) I believe that torture is a choice;
This means that the person has a choice to be tortured and has the decision of when the torture is to be started or stopped and if the torture will never even take place. This also means that you have a choice to either reveal the information to the relevant authorities or be tortured until that information is revealed.

The Police and Intelligence officers do everything necessary to keep our nation safe. As the government we are not here to defend the torture of innocent civilians. We don't torture people because they are being good citizens, these people were brought into the interrogation rooms because they have affiliations with some sort or terrorists group or they are probably involved.

I know some people would be thinking that torture is against morality and is a way of punishing people. Well, morality is subjective, what an American perceive to be moral isn't the same as what an Indian or an African does. However let me remind you, that torture is the last option of decoding information that is of national interest."

ii) Torture is used as the last resort in National Security Protection;
Torture is tolerable when its necessary and when all the other methods have failed. Tortures is just an advanced interrogation technique that has been found to be very effective. This means that if you get picked up at the airport because you have something suspicious in your passport, obviously there"s going to be a lot of investigations to be done in order to see if you have any affiliations with any terrorist groups before you get to the step of why you are going to be tortured.

For example, I know of someone who had something suspicious in his passport when he visited the United States one year ago. Authorities held him in the airport for about 4 hours, they spoke to him like a normal person, and they treated him with courtesy and respect until the issue was resolved. Afterwards he was let go. Therefore, I conclude by saying that torture is absolutely the last step in the process of assuring our national security.

iii) Torture takes a lot of bureaucratic processes and a lot of approvals;
What I mean is that, we need to get a lot of decision makers to say yes in order for us to proceed to torture.
These police and intelligence officers like the CIA are installed in order to serve, protect and ensure law and order in the country, and they will use all means necessary to make certain that this world is a better place for our children and our future.

I end with a quote by Jeremy Bentham, ""I wish no one would ever torture, but I"m sure some will if the ticking bomb situation were ever to arise. That"s why I favor torture warrants.""


i) A person who is to be tortured unless they give information does not have a choice. If they hold information on a terrorist attack etc but do not wish to say what they know, they will be tortured against their will. If they reveal "some" information before or after being tortured then the torturer will think he/she has more information but are unwilling to tell and proceed to torturing that individual against their will.

Anyone who is tortured will say what they think people want to hear simply to stop being tortured even if it's untrue, what can be found from torturing someone is thus unreliable and immoral.

ii) Having good intentions doesn't make something right.

ii) The only thing torturing does is to make people outside of America hate Americans and threaten security.

People will often do terrible things in desperate situations, but there is always an alternative.

People who may impose a threat to national security could be hooked to a lie detector. There is no need to physically or mentally torture someone nowadays. More effective ways to find information exist now
Debate Round No. 1


I understand your point of view and thank you for your response.

Well you mentioned to say that torture is against the person's will. It's an undeniable fact, but when lives are are stake and there is no other way of decoding information, would you let the suspect go even if you know that they have the information, just because its agains their will? absolutely not. We need to know that the lives of tens of thousands of people are more important than a single selfish individual.

The government, has a duty and that duty is to protect their citizens by all means necessary. In a situation of a ticking time bomb torture is undoubtably justified as the only resort in protecting the people who voted for the government.

I Know that torture isn't something to glorify.You wouldn't hear someone praising the government for saving lives because they tortured someone behind the scenes . its horrible and painful but I still keep my stance. The person has a choice and that choice is to reveal the information and possibly be let go. The government works day and night in order to insure national security.

Thank you


You are welcome,

"The answer in international law is categorical: no. As laid down in treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ban on torture or any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is absolute, even in times of war. Along with genocide, torture is the only crime that every state must punish, no matter who commits it or where" [1]

I believe you when you say torture is a horrible thing, however I don't think you realise just how bad it is or believe you know that the CIA actually tortures detainees. People often think that dunking someone in water and a little sexual humiliation justifies saving hundreds of lives. However this is not what happens. Many people are not aware that the nicer word 'enhanced interrogation' is used in media to replace the word 'torture', and as a result they think the methods used to extract information are better when they are no different.

Here are some torture techniques used by the CIA

Interrogating someone can help a person, but torturing someone can't. If a person who is tortured is released back in society they will bare physical and mental scars, and will hate and fear the people who tortured them for the rest of their life, you may think 'so what, why should I care about them, and if they die whilst tortured it will do the world a favour'. Terrorists don't value life. Torture degrades human life. So you see torture is not the solution to stopping terrorism.

Indeed every government has a duty to protect its citizens, and the way they can do this is by acting responsibly i.e. banning torture and thus preventing more extreme attacks in future. The September 9th terrorist attack has no doubt changed people's view on torture, people who fear for their life want to be safe no matter what, and making torture legal might seem in the interest of everyone but it is not. More attacks will result by torturing people.

Also anyone serious about causing maximum damage is not going to reveal any information quickly, and by the time any information is extracted from them a new target will be attacked.

Debate Round No. 2


When we are faced with a major crisis, the necessary measures must be taken at all costs to save the lives of millions of people. Torture is justified," and international laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations".
If lives are lost people have the government to point out fingers to so we must do everything necessary to protect them even if a single person has to be interrogated until the life saving information is revealed.

Let me also clarify that as the government we dont just torture someone because we feel like doing so. There are several steps to follow and this includes getting clearance from many intelligence agencies and its only when we are over 75% sure that that victim is guilty that we proceed to other interrogation techniques.

We dont defend the torture of innocent lives and also the techniques used are faire enough to avoid all the breaching of human rights.


I will examine Pro's sources; oddly they support my argument.

"If a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks" ( )

There is an assumption that Torture works. Let's look at the next source

"legal interrogation techniques were equally successful in abstracting information from terrorists and that, through the use of torture, no additional information was gained. Torture is therefore not more efficient in gathering intelligence than other interrogation techniques" ( )

The ticking time bomb scenario is solely based on a possible (unlikely) situation rather than fact. If we could be 100% certain that torturing someone will save millions of people then it would be right to choose a lesser evil, however no-one apart from terrorists are in this position where they can choose to prevent a greater evil. Thus, no ordinary person should have to make such decisions.

"killing in combat and self-defence is based on the ground that another person poses a threat to our own survival, and we have the right to defend ourselves. Torture of a detained terrorist, on the contrary, is an act of violence against a defenceless victim, who does not pose an immediate threat" ( )

So, basically we shouldn't treat terrorism like other threats.

I don't see how torture can be justified in order to protect human rights (the right to life, liberty and security of person) from terrorist threats by REMOVING some of our human rights such as the right to be protected against torture! Torture is far worse than death! It's bad enough that innocent people go to jail. Innocent people being tortured is a step too far.
Surely the government has a duty to protect innocent people, especially from itself first, after all that is more important.

Also anyone who carries out these horrific torture techniques must gain sadistic enjoyment, it can't be right to accept that this is okay. I urge voters to vote Con.

I eagerly await your response

Many thanks for having this interesting debate, Kirk
Debate Round No. 3
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