It would be silly for us to assume that when the United States tortures prisoners of war, its enemies will not also treat U.S. prisoners of war in kind. So, I do think condoning torture puts our soldiers at a greater risk of being tortured themselves.
Torture is against international law. If a country publicly states that it does not plan to obey international law, then other countries will be more likely to consider themselves entitled to ignore the law, as well. Also, if someone knows the U.S. is probably torturing their citizens, then they are more likely to retaliate by torturing U.S. citizens.
History shows that when our troops have been captured during the war on terror, they have been tortured regardless of the circumstances. The war on terror is not the type of war our forefathers fought. The only way to gather information from the enemy is to constantly find new methods of gaining information from these foreign fighters.
The behavior of one person, group, or nation to another person, group or nation is often reflected back - when people do bad things to others, the others will retaliate. Torturing prisoners lets the enemy have equal moral ground when they do it and easier justification to their own people.
The USA is a leading nation of the world and other nations look up to us as an example of how to do things. If we demonstrate that torturing enemy captives for the "good" of our nation is right, then that gives the green light to other countries to do the same thing. If we harp on about human rights and then go around and severely violate them, then just just makes the USA look like a hypocritical nation.
This is found on the most basic form of psychology of humans in that their is a "tit-for-tat" mentality. If we can justify any form of torture on an enemy combatant, than how could the enemy not do the same? Any form of torture on any sort of life form is against the basic laws of nature and should never be performed ever.
If we expected to escape harsh treatment from someone else even though we put them through the roughest of times by torturing them, it would be impractical to think that once our troops were captured they would be treated with dignity and in a humane way. There are people who live by the idea of an eye for an eye. If torture is used on the opposing side, it is apparent that it will be conflicted upon the others as a form of revenge. It can even be expected to be a harsher treatment than what was given because everything is fair in love and war. If you do not force someone to stoop to the same level you are at, you have to treat them a certain way to get a reaction and if torture is used, it can only be justified if the opposing side uses it as well.
I believe torture, in any form, is unethical, and puts our own troops in danger upon capture. Condoning torture will give off the impression that it is okay for our enemies to torture our own troops. It also gives the enemy incentives as to why we may be wrong in their eyes. These actions are not allowed in my eyes.
Treat others as you would like to be treated. When the American military condones and allows torture, we are setting standards for the way that we would like our own military to be treated. War is a back and forth, with one side hitting back in a similar or harsher way with each round. When we torture others, when their troops obtain American troops, they will do the same thing or worse than what we are doing to them. The military should treat prisoners of war in a manner that we would like our own troops to be treated. While I know we will not be providing anyone with luxury hotels, we should treat everyone with common human courtesy even if they are the enemy, and should treat them as we treat prisoners in American jails.
If the U.S. continues to torture captured soldiers or suspected terrorists, we are condoning torture as an acceptable means of war. If we condone that activity by our own actions, we subject our troops, and contractors, to the same treatment by enemy forces. Also, the United States signed the Geneva Convention treaty, promising to not participate in torture. If our agreement on international treaties means nothing, than our ability to negotiate peaceful, non-violent resolutions are also undermined.
Throughout history, warfare tactics have developed in a copycat system. In World War II, for example, the USA took notes from Germany, placing all the first-generation Japanese immigrants into "internment camps", until the end of the war. If we allow our own soldiers and government officials to torture enemy soldiers, then we are condoning those actions in times of warfare, making it acceptable for our allies to do the same and, thus, making it acceptable, and perhaps even necessary, for our enemies to follow suit.
If the image that America portrays to the world is an image of a country that condones the torture of prisoners of war, then enemies that capture American troops will be more likely to condone torture. This would have the effect of putting American troops in unnecessary danger that should be avoided at all costs.
While the common retort to concerns about the effect of torture on our own captured soldiers' treatment is that they'll be mistreated regardless of our behavior, this cavalier assumption is an over-generalization. Even many terrorist groups are concerned in one way or another about their public relations, and they sometimes even evince (in however distorted and inconsistent a form) some humanitarian concern alongside their brutality. Just because they are not good people does not mean that they are incapable of being moved toward better behavior by both moral and practical considerations (why else do hostages sometimes get released?), and such leverage is more likely to be available if the prevailing image in the mind of such actors about the nationality and allegiances of their captives is something more benign than 2004-vintage images from Abu Ghraib prison.
Look, it doesn't make sense that the enemy would stop torturing us just because we don't torture them, or try to make a good example for not torturing them. Why would they want to stop if we do in this case? A lot of enemies are bad and don't care what we do in terms of what would be honorable.
When you make a decision that you are going to allow the use of torture, it does not affect the decisions being made by the opposing side, in regards to the same. They will make their decision about whether or not to torture our men based on whether or not they find it to be of value to them, just as we do.
We do not put our own troops in danger of being tortured when we torture enemy prisoners, because the enemy is not concerned with our actions, and our enemies have a totally different set of moral values. They define sleep deprivation as torture, yet continue to behead and burn prisoners. We are not the aggressor. We are defending our country and any act is permissible, as long as our country is defended against the aggressor.
I mean they blow themselves up, we don't it doesn't matter how much they do it we never will.... This debate is invalid to have 73% of vote saying yes. Stop watching CNN and realize war isn't about being honest or nice. It's about doing what you have to, to win.
I am in the US Army, and I know personally that we are not allowed to torture those taken hostage, as it is against the Geneva Convention. Yet although we are not torturing out captives, they're still torturing our people in which they capture. It makes no difference, yet we still take the upper hand.
The reputation for being tortured is going to send messages to everyone that you are going to be violent. It undermines the safety of everyone else trying to maintain a safe occupancy in war, by stating we are going to harm you.
Torturing those we capture would not increase the possibility of our troops being tortured if they are captured by our enemies. The reason that this is so is that most of the nations that we would go to war with do not follow conventional rules of war. The reason that we end up going to war with many of those nations is the very behavior that we are discussing in this debate.