The Instigator
Harlan
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
wryan
Con (against)
Losing
24 Points

Torture is not right

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/1/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,108 times Debate No: 41
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (14)

 

Harlan

Pro

Torture is inhumane and horrific.

I do not care what the circumstances are, and I don't care if they are not an american or not; the government should never have the right to torture a human being.

Torture cannot be justified, period.

It is to cause them extreme pain in order to get what you want. There is no doubt that the Government will take advantage of this right. Things like this kill democracy. Things like this slowly drown (no reference to the current issue intended) democracy to be replaced by a centralized government, in which no one has the freedom of speech. Sure, at first it will be strict regulations on the use of torture, but eventually it will be a common thing.

I now realize that my argument can be summed up easily:
Torture is bad because it hurts a lot.

I am sorry if my views are not idealistic enough (I do not like idealism), but torture is very, very, very painful. I am sorry if this sounds naive, but it is completely true.

This is a violation of the fifth AND eighth amendment. (and the geneva convention)

People will say:

"Oh, but the people the government tortures are not american, so they don't have our rights"

Sure, this is true legally, but it is against american values, and I think that a true american would want to give the rights that he gets to the whole world, instead of taking peoples rights from other parts of the world.

How dare anyone justify the torturing of someone simply because they are not an american?
wryan

Con

You have asserted that there is no possible situation in which torture would be permissable. Your main argument in support of this is that it hurts. Alot. I would dissagree.

Here are my arguments:

1. Relative harm versus good. While there may be alot of pain inflicted on the victim, if the pain can be used to prevent even more harmful effects, such as the death of dozens or even hundreds, it is permissable. The total good generated by the torture is greater than the total harm the turture causes.

2. Relative harm versus good, in relation to rights. I would argue that sometimes it is permissable to take away rights from someone if in doing so you ensure the safety of many other's rights.

3. Forfeiture of human rights. If the torturee has done horrible things, such as murdering a family, I would argue that he has forfeited his basic human rights by taking away another's basic human rights. Therefore, there is no moral reaon not to torture him.

4. Possible cumulative effects. LEts sayyou tortuere one man,and stop the death of five people he was going to kill. Had he not been tortured, and his crime discovered, he mostly likely woulld have killed again. Therefore, there are more negative actions a tortureee could do than just the immediate one, lending even more wweight to my earlier arguments.

An example to support this would be a terrorist. He is captured, and tortured. His torturers brutally torture him. He reveals the plan he just set in motion which would have resulted in a nuclear bomb being set off in the center of New York. I would say that the harm done to the torturer is outweighed by the good done to the people of New York.

For the above reasons I would argue that there is no way to argue that torture is NOT morally required if it will help ensure the safety of others, and if it will create more good than bad.
Debate Round No. 1
Harlan

Pro

I can understand your logic, and have heard many such arguments before.

You seem to have made basically two arguments:

-that the harm on the masses might outweigh one man's pain.

-and that someone who has done something bad enough does not deserve to be treated as a human.

1.It is true that many people may die in some scenarios, from the result of someone not being tortured. Your example of the bomb in New York is commonly used to the point of being clich´┐Ż. I will state the problems with this hypothetical situation:

-How would you be sure that this person knows where the bomb is? You could be wrong; he might not be the right guy. If you are convinced he is the right guy, you just keep drowning him, freezing him, shocking him, shoving needles up his finger nails, or whatever. He then, from the unbearable pain he is experiencing, gives you an answer. This answer is not correct, obviously, and many people die.

-The government, if there was such a scenario, and had the right to torture suspects, would accuse people that they don't like. Anyone who the government wanted to torture could then be tortured. If you don't believe me, look at what the government is doing now. They now have the right, with the patriot act, to spy on terrorist suspects. They choose who these suspects are.

-Once the government had the right to torture Americans in extreme scenarios such as this, they would slowly push it. They would use it in less and less extreme cases, until finally everyone was used to it. The executive branch would eventually have the power to torture whoever they wanted, whenever they wanted. As I state in many of my debates, they slowly ease us into a centralized government, and we have to slow it down, and be more aware. Lest democracy die.

So we can see that we can not let the government torture people, even in an extreme case like this, in which many peoples lives are threatened.

2. As for forfeiting human rights, every one has human rights, if they are a human (hence the name "HUMAN rights"). Now, unless the person does something that involves turning into a duck, zebra, moose, ant, platypus, or something he is still a Human, as far as I am aware. The UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) has an article on against torture, so Humans have this Human right.

That was the technical argument, now I will give you my moral one:

No one ever "forfeits" their human rights. Part of the reason we have human rights is to protect those who have done "bad". What is the use of human rights if we can declare that someone no longer gets to have them if they break our laws? Shouldn't UNALIEBLE rights transcend the breaking of a law?

The purpose of the UDHR is to set ground rules for human rights that EVERY human has.

"rights (as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons"

-Merriam Webster online definition of "human rights"

http://www.un.org... (UDHR) look at article 5
wryan

Con

Sorry, I am too busy to debate right now. MAybe we can do this again later? I have just been really busy lately and will continue to be.
Debate Round No. 2
Harlan

Pro

Hello, I understand that you are busy, and we may, if you wish reinstate this debate at another time. I really am enjoying this debate, though, and hope we may finish it some time. I will not post anything else here, as I have nothing to respond to.

-Harlan
wryan

Con

wryan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
If you would like you may challenge me to the debate again and we will take it from where we last set off.
Posted by wryan 9 years ago
wryan
Ill post it by tommorrow.
Posted by wryan 9 years ago
wryan
Yeah, that would be good. I'm just a bit swamped right now.
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
You have not defined "torture". Is water boarding torture by your definition? The subject is never in any danger of actual physical harm. What about sleep deprivation? Pointing an unloaded gun at a prisoner? Failing to provide 3 square meals? Refusing access to MTV?

A Supreme Court justice once said "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it". That's the same problem we have of "torture". Everybody has their own definition of what constitutes it.
Posted by Phil 9 years ago
Phil
There's no way putting water into someone's respiratory passages (water boarding) is torture. It leaves no permanent physiological or psychological damage. It's a method that scares and frightens someone in order to coerce information that may save the lives of our soldiers and innocent Americans. It's not like we're cutting off their heads!

The brave men that fought in WWI and WWII would be embarrassed to call you countrymen. Ya'll need to grow a pair and realize how dangerous the world really is. There are bad guys out there, and they want to murder the innocent. You're making us look like a bunch of weenies.
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
Sure, we can continue this debate later.

I will wait a day or something to post my next argument, which I shall leave blank, in order to give you some more time, if it would help.
Posted by lvisman96 9 years ago
lvisman96
Torture does not necessarily cause pain. "Water-boarding" (simulated drowning) or intimidation by dogs, sleep-deprivation, or even ridicule by women to naked prisoners (all of which have been used) do not entail physical pain, but rather psychological and emotional pain. I won't go into whether or not our principles should be held above all else. We live in a real world, with real problems. Extreme measures are sometimes required for extreme situations. On the flip side, however, at least one study has shown that torture doesn't uncover any 'real' information anyway (i.e. it is not an effective means of getting information).
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Vote Placed by fire_wings 1 year ago
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