Justification For Torture Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Essay Paper: #48789285 Related Topics: Deontology, War Crime, Police Ethics, Utilitarianism
Excerpt from Essay :

Torture: Often Morally Justifiable

Given the events of the last ten-year, most notably U.S. Military techniques in Abu Graib, the subject of torture is ever a popular one and ever controversial. For the purposes of this paper, torture will be defined as "the intentional infliction of extreme physical suffering on some non-consenting, defenseless, other person for the purpose of breaking their will. I note that a person might have been tortured, even if in fact their will has not been broken; the purpose of the practice of torture is to break the victim's will, but this purpose does not have to be realized for a process to be an instance of torture" (Miller, 2005). Torture is all things that a civilized and peaceful society stands against. Torture is not something which is at all palatable or which seems to be the actions of an evolved and just collective of people. This paper intends to demonstrate that there are certain instances and moral constructs which can justify torture.

Consider the following example: a car is stolen. There is a child in the backseat. The thief abandons the car and runs off. The police catch the thief. The thief denies having stolen the car and claims he has no idea where the car is. Meanwhile the child is trapped in a hot car and is dehydrated and his


In this case, reasoning and threatening the criminal do not work. The criminal continues to deny that he stole the car and no threat, pleas or justification do anything to help the police secure a location for the vehicle. The criminal has no problem demonstrating his sheer and intense contempt for the police. In this incident, what ended up happening was that the police administered a rain of blows to the criminal, and made it clear that this beating would not stop until he offered up a location of the car so the child could be recovered. According to deontological ethics, such a mode of action is not justifiable as deontological ethics believes in the morality of separate choices. In fact, according to U.S. Law such an act is also not justifiable: "Additionally, the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996 even prescribes the death penalty for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions (torture included). Even if someone's perverted system of morality deems torture to be permissible, it is plainly illegal in the United States and in virtually any country on the planet. Any minimal commitment to the rule of law requires us to renounce torture" (newsherald, 2013). Thus, according to this legislation, the police officers in the above scenario broke the law. However, according to a more consequentialist ethical theory, the police officers did the right thing (standford.edu). They realized that in this…

Sources Used in Documents:


Miller, S. (2014). Is Torture Ever Morally Justifiable? Retrieved from csusb.edu: http://rocket.csusb.edu/~tmoody/ijap192-Miller.pdf

Newsherald.com. (2013, January). The use of torture can never be justified. Retrieved from newsherald.com: http://www.newsherald.com/opinions/letters-to-the-editor/the-use-of-torture-can-never-be-justified-1.84139

stanford.edu. (2014). Deontology's Foil: Consequentialism. Retrieved from stanford.edu: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-deontological/

Cite this Document:

"Justification For Torture" (2014, October 07) Retrieved August 13, 2022, from

"Justification For Torture" 07 October 2014. Web.13 August. 2022. <

"Justification For Torture", 07 October 2014, Accessed.13 August. 2022,

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