Effectiveness of Torture in the Framework of Warfare on Terror

The "War on Terror" has prompted significant amounts of discussion about the use of torture as a way of extracting information from those suspected of having perpetrated past works of assault or planning future ones. Despite the years which have passed because the attacks of September 11, 2001, for both people and federal officials there continues to be a strong anxiety between the competing emotions of anger, revenge and depression; it appears increasingly difficult to adhere to international norms regulating a countries moral and legal responsibilities to protect its individuals from grave risk while continuing to aid specific freedoms, while torture has historically been illegal in the U. S. the threat of terrorism in conjunction with the escalation of violence in Iraq has led to professional and judicial justification for the use of cruel and inhumane treatment. Investigations in to the handling of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib have caused both Americans and observers abroad to ask how a country that once advertised human rights can have allowed such abuses to occur and, having done so, whether the U. S. keeps any moral specialist in the international community. This newspaper will explore the countless issues surrounding the use of torture in the aftermath of September 11th. Interrogational torture will be explained from the next standpoints: legal, ethical, and success. The central research question is whether or not torture is a highly effective means of dealing with risks such as terrorism. More specifically, this paper will attempt to show that torture is not a powerful means of interrogation and so will not provide useful information. In order to try this hypothesis, other questions should be responded to: What's torture? How is torture looked at ethically and lawfully? What exactly are the arguments for and against torture? What are the ways torture make a difference national security?


I. America's current effort against terrorism shows an long lasting legal and moral dilemma surrounding the utilization of torture. The need to support the terrorist threat has led the U. S. among others to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists in prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and somewhere else throughout the world. Throughout their detention, many prisoners have complained of torture at North american hands, inciting an mental domestic question about whether or not American, or any other land, should torture or even must torture to get an asymmetric warfare. This situation reflects a classic moral problem over the use of torture, which many people find reprehensible, but others dispute the decision never to torture may endanger many more lives because terrorist plots to kill is going undiscovered (Greenberg 2006).

Review of the Literature

I. Categories of Torture

In general, there are two categories of torture: punitive and interrogational. For the purpose of this paper "torture" shall make reference to interrogational torture. Interrogational torture is for the purpose of extracting information. Here, the assumption is the fact that interrogational torture differs from punitive torture because interrogators utilize it to recuperate information considered critical to a higher cause (e. g. to avoid a large number of innocent fatalities or for countrywide survival). While punitive torture (torture used to punish or persuade) does not have any definite termination requirements. There is a fixed end condition to interrogational torture; when the interrogator retrieves the mandatory information.

II. Definitions of torture - International Regulation and Conventions

A. There were many printed definitions of torture before and since its introduction at the forefront of the public conscience after the events of September 11th. "Torture" is a crime

under international laws and the regulations of all countries. International laws allows no justification, no disaster situation that would justify its use. Following the agreement of the Convention Against Torture along with other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Consequence (Torture Convention) by the U. S. Senate, and in light of ages on constitutional interpretation, the same would appear to be true for the U. S. A number of the foundational international law documents on torture are the Geneva Conventions, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention Against Torture (1994). The Geneva Conventions provide broad protections

Any person detained, whether a prisoner of conflict, unprivileged belligerent, terrorist of non-combatant, has at least bare minimum guarantees "in every circumstances" "at any time and in any place what so ever before" under common Article 3. Such privileges include the right to be "treated humanely, " freedom from "cruel treatment and torture, " and flexibility from "outrages upon personal dignity, specifically, humiliating and degrading treatment, " and minimize human privileges to credited process in case of trial (CRS Report for Congress 2004).

B. Another interpretation of torture is discussed by the description distributed by the U. S. Senate when it ratified the US Convention Against Torture in 1994. The senate described torture as follows in U. S. Code 18 Section 2340

1. The United States understands that, to be able to constitute torture, an action must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or anguish which mental pain or fighting refers to prolonged mental harm induced by or causing the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

2. The administration or software, or threatened supervision or program of mind altering chemicals or other techniques determined to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

3. The threat of imminent loss of life; or

4. The threat that another person will imminently go through fatality, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or software of brain altering substances (U. N. Conventions 1994).

In reviewing the various Conventions and International regulations one might think that torture is forbidden absolutely, but this conception is false. For example, the Geneva Conventions do not cover all the types of armed or military action. They offer primarily with armed conflicts between and among countries that became gatherings to the Conventions and with the occupation of a state party's place by the makes of another nation. Thus, Al Qaeda will not whatsoever resemble a state, and therefore not a subject matter of international legislation. There are various scholars who contend that the September 11th attacks have not motivated any wealthy democracy to completely invert itself and make torture legal, but they have motivated a bending of the rules and definitions as well as the turning of blind eyes.

III. Torture Memos

Since Sept 11, 2001, the debate over what constitutes torture has flared. In August 2002, in response to the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) obtain clarification on permissible interrogation techniques, Assistant Attorney Standard Jay S. Bybee provided an inflammatory memo to the President's office of legal counsel which alarmed the general public. It explained that only physical pain "equal to that associated serious physical harm, such as organ inability, impairment of bodily function, or even fatality, " or mental pain that led to "significant psychological damage of constituted torture. " Also, the memo argued that as a wartime President whose main duty was to safeguard the American people, he had the power to override both domestic and international law. The public looked at the memo as a self-serving make an effort by the Bush supervision to narrow this is of torture in order to permit interrogators some ominous versatility during interrogations and reduce them of the constraints of the Geneva conventions (Greenberg 2006).

A. Memo Rescinded

In December 2004, Acting Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin released a reconsideration of the problem which rescinded the 2002 memo in its entirety and publicly reaffirmed America's subscription to a complete torture ban as explained in the U. N. Convention Against Torture. The 2004 memo plainly stated the U. S. deemed torture "abhorrent both to American law and values and international norms" (Smith and Eggen, 2004). In addition, many guiding sources contain limitations outlawing poor treatment generally, for example, in addition to determining torture, the U. N. Convention Against Torture also forbids engaging in "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment" (Heymann and Kaygen 2004). Although U. S. constitution outlaws cruel and abnormal punishment, it is normally accepted judicially that this implies a broad moral standard which prohibits unusually cruel treatment.

President Bush and his acquaintances have always retained that America neither authorizes nor condones torture. But the President is definitely obscure about the gray area between torture and more moderate pressure. Immediately after suspected terrorists were first sent to Guantanamo in January 2002 he said that America's military would treat the detainees "humanly" in a manner constant with the Geneva Conventions, but and then the level appropriate and regular with military necessity. It had been only after the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) performed the Bush supervision acknowledge that all detainees, wherever they might be held, were secured by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which bans all types of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as well as torture.

IV. Ethical and Moral Considerations

The morality of torture is comparable to the morality of capital punishment in the following respects: they are in concept, and probably used, certain rare occasions where either would be morally justified. At the same time, morality itself needs that both be categorically prohibited in legislations. Torture can be morally framed as a means-versus-ends turmoil. Here we ask ourselves is some information so vital, so valuable, that people should think about torture even if it is morally reprehensible. You will discover those who believe coercive interrogation is recognized as an important tool under conditions of imminent risk of large scale assault against Us citizens. But this discussion assumes that torture will get the information we want if we're able to just get around our discomfort of intentionally inflicting pain or anguish on a suspect. In this debate, torture is scaled against two conditions: human rights and effectiveness.

A. Morality

The question of moral acceptability will not provide easy answers. Those who take a utilitarian methodology can justify the utilization of torture when confronted with immediate danger. The notorious hypothetical "ticking time bomb" situation is considered as illustrative of an catastrophic circumstance that could justify torture. Here the individual under interrogation has learned the location of the bomb establish to explode endangering a large number of lives and won't divulge the information necessary to remove or defuse the bomb. Many commentators recognize that the ticking time bomb circumstance is improbable and man-made but believe it needs handling because since September 11th leaders have used this situation as a narrative platform and since justification for changing prohibitions on international law regarding torture and a justification for curbing civil liberties more generally (Parry 2004).

From the "means" perspective of ethical formalism, torture is undesirable. The easy determination to torture in the quest for information is inconsistent with all doctrines of real human privileges. The U. N. Convention Against Torture rejects torture under any circumstances. The use of torture has implications for your perceived moral identity. When we use torture, it explains to us just as much about ourselves as about folks we use it against. At the key of the issue things become perplexed because the "good folks" are undertaking the same serves that make the "criminals" bad. Torture can mobilize our enemies, justifying their violent level of resistance to the evil of your adversary who uses torture. Within the exemplory case of interrogation completed at Abu Ghraib, incidents of torture have provided a justification for assault up against the U. S. The policy implication of this is the fact that interrogations should be carefully noted in order to disprove torture accusations. It is very important that the U. S. will not create an environment that stimulates mistreatment in the name of the ends justifying the means, when gathering intellect about the foe.

B. Effectiveness

In exploring the hypothesis that torture is not a powerful means of interrogation and thus does not provide useful information, three main themes exist that are widespread in the literature. Most authors starting their arguments on evidence regarding at least one of the next areas: legal concerns, ethical concerns, and the effectiveness of torture. Most of the recent scholarly writing on torture has been done by international legal professionals and legal scholars. A few of them defend interrogational torture while some do not. Furthermore, experienced philosophers writing about torture are also divided in their thoughts. The acquisition of informing through interrogation traditionally is a central element of military and intellect operations. The need to extract actionable intellect has, if anything, are more salient since Sept 11, 2001. A dispersed and "different kind" of opponent with no flag or standard, an inadequate understanding of this new foe's firm and procedures, and pressure to disrupt future wonder attacks have made interrogation important to the Battle on terror. Unlike common police interrogation, interrogation performed to acquire intellect information is not designed generally to elicit admissions or information which may be used in a conventional prosecution. As noted by Central Cleverness Agency (CIA) interrogation manuals, "Admissions of complicity are not. . ends in themselves but merely preludes to the acquisition of more info" (Levi 2009 p. 1435). The interrogation goal, as mirrored in U. S. Army interrogation manuals, it too "obtain the maximum amount of useful information. in a lawful manner, in the very least timeframe" (Levi 2009 p. 1436). This simply mentioned aim expresses well the tension inherent to interrogation between obtaining well-timed intelligence and observing the legal constraints that are comprehended to apply.

The success of torture argument is dependant on the clear-cut logic that folks, fearing for his or her personal welfare, will provide whatever information they can in order to avoid harm. However in practice this notion is difficult to support for a number of reasons. Among the first questions to handle is whether torture is an efficient means of coping with hazards such as terrorism. Most people expect that torture is essential to make hardened terrorists have a discussion. Michael Ignatieff (2004) preserves that "although some mistreatment and outright torture can be related to the sadism of individuals, poor supervision, and so forth, it must be the case that other serves of torture arise because interrogators believe that, in good faith, that torture is the only path to draw out information in a timely fashion" (25). Draw Bowden offers some support because of this perspective, describing a number of ways that torture has compelled suspects to speak. But at the same time, Bowden notes that results vary from individual to individual; while torture works in some instances, it generally does not always work (Bowden 2003). Similarly, Stephen Budiansky (2005) also refers to "widespread disdain" among experienced military interrogators for abusive varieties of interrogation: "many old hands in the business have remarked that abusing prisoners is not only unlawful and immoral; additionally it is remarkably inadequate" (32).

While controversy over the effectiveness of torture continues, the actual fact that a volume of experts criticize the resort to harsh techniques and reward non-coercive methods will undermine the situation for torture as a more generalized practice. Here Eitan Felner (2004) boosts the objection that torture may be necessary in exceptional circumstances when there is no period to use "gentle persuasion. " In "Torture and Terrorism: Painful Lessons from Israel, " Felner looks at this objection in his examination of the 1987 statement by Israel: Commission rate of Inquiry, which placed that coercive interrogation techniques were justified to be able to obtain crucial information that could save innocent lives, such as the location of an bomb meant to be used in an action of mass terror against civilians (30-31). Felner highlights a number of criticisms of the argument. First, he cites the criticism that the "ticking time bomb" circumstance rests on a set of assumptions that are extremely unlikely. It presumes that there surely is a bomb that will explode if not diffused; the suspect knows where in fact the bomb reaches the time; the suspect provides the right information only if tortured; and the information will allow us to find and disarm the bomb in time, etc. Felner concludes that given the implausibility that all these conditions would be attained the ticking bomb circumstance assumes rather than shows that torture is an efficient means to avert a definite and present threat, and therefore it does not give a pragmatic basis for decision making (Felner 2004).

There a wide range of articles about the real effectiveness of torture as an interrogation approach and many say that it works, but don't cite any specific studies to back again up these assertions that it does not with circumstance studies and other records. Torture has been used almost constantly throughout record. Western legal traditions used torture until its use was prohibited in the eighteenth century (Langbein 2004). People then, as they do now, often question the potency of using torture for interrogation and what are the lasting results on the tortured as well as the torturer. Designed to eliminate the requirement for conviction of testimony of two eyewitnesses, torture was used in Europe before eighteenth century. Torture was designed to be permitted when a half substantiation (one eyewitness testimony) was set up. Data obtained by torture was then said to be verified. Sadly the intentions dropped far in short supply of actual practice. In the long run, suggestive questions were often used, verification of information had not been completed, many innocent people often appeared guilty, and those who confessed under torture often recanted while in court docket and then had to be re-tortured. In short, torture did not provide reliable information, and the practice was forgotten (Langbein 2004). The argument of effectiveness persists today. Those against the use of torture say that it is not an efficient method for various reasons and cite CIA, FBI, and U. S. military sources for explanations why interrogation can not work. In the words of one senior military interrogator, "Beyond the moral imperative, the qualified interrogator avoids torture since it is counter-productive and unreliable. . In my two decades of experience as an interrogator, I understand of no competent interrogator that would holiday resort to torture. Not one. " (Bennett 2006). In a recently available Statement on Interrogation Procedures, twenty army interrogators and interrogation technicians, representing over 200 many years of interrogation service and experience from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and Iraq, unequivocally contradicted the proposition that torture is necessary to gain the "war on terror. " Corresponding to them, severe techniques are indicative of inexperience or untrained interrogators and frequently create anger within the subject leading the interrogator to reduce control. They also found that the very best interrogation techniques do not use torture but instead rely on the subject's cooperation to obtain the desired information (Bauer 2006).

Some scholars that question the "effectiveness" of torture often are discussing it in the tactical sense. To torture a suspect once who subsequently uncovers like-saving information which then is exploited successfully describes an instance in which torture is tactically effective. However in the framework of asymmetric warfare, including the current war on terror, performance refers to the amount torture lessens the asymmetric hazard or gives to people threatened a proper advantage over time. There are some scholars who propose it's important to consider the long-term view when determining effectiveness, because the dynamic political consequences of torture last years, years, or longer. These scholars offer two viewpoints to support this meaning. First is the thought of strategic motivation, whereby a nation's action during asymmetric discord to some extent can determine how its enemies will act. Heather MacDonald best conveys this aspect when she outlines that the consequences of torture, and therefore torture guidelines, are tactical in mother nature. She claims "were the U. S. to announce that terrorists would be protected under the Geneva Conventions, it could destroy any motivation our ruthless enemies have to comply with the regulations of battle" (Greenberg 2006 p. 95). Impacting terrorists will to adhere to the laws and regulations of warfare is a proper result since it refers to their general behavior over a long time frame and in extensive terms. The motivation or disincentive result she describes will be evident to the U. S. as it battles terrorists around the globe for a long time to come.

Philip Heymann and Juliette Kayyem (2004) also express the way the implications of torture are proper. They write "unless the individual who's tortured is then wiped out torture creates martyrs who are living recruiters of new terrorists. Torture violates a historic knowledge of how prisoners are to be treated and defies treaties and statues: Here, Heymann and Kayyan are referring to the strategic mother nature of the consequences of torture. They maintain that those repercussions will inevitable determine its enduring effectiveness or ineffectiveness. It is important to define the potency of torture in strategic conditions because torture yields long-term repercussions for claims that are beyond the immediate context (2).

Since September 11th the scholarly proponents of an legitimately sanctioned system of coercive interrogation look, without detailed evaluation, to be persuaded that it's an effective means of gathering intelligence. For example, Bagaric and Clarke (2005) claim: "The primary benefit for torture is that it is an excellent method of gathering information" (581). Within their evaluation of the possible downsides and advantages of coercive interrogation, Posner and Vermeule (2005) cite research that they claim "strongly suggests that coercive interrogation will save you lives" (2). Similarly, Alan Dershowitz (2002) remarks that torture "sometimes works, even if it does not always work" and that "there are numerous instances where torture has produced self-proving, truthful information that was necessary to prevent harm to civilians" (137). By contrast others have argued that it is ineffective. For example, in a recent article and without detailed analysis of information, Harold Koh (2005) stated, "To be sure, there is numerous information that torture is not effective either as an interrogation technique or an information extracting device" (641).


Torture is nearly universally considered lawfully and morally unacceptable, which is strategically detrimental to the nations who utilize it. Although there have been many definitions of torture, it offers proven difficult to define as it is to police force. There is a constant debate over if torture can produce the critical intelligence information required to combat an asymmetric battle. Though it may have plausibly aided tactical victories in the past against insurgents, the use of torture in addition has held negative tactical consequences that affect a state's politics and moral status. The issues associated with torture and coercive interrogations that contain been discussed in this newspaper claim that scholarly and judicial promises regarding its effectiveness must be cured with caution. A lot of the discussion in this area tends to sketch on limited resources, often without specific analysis. You will discover two conclusions that may be drawn out of this research. First, coercion does sometimes work. You can find enough examples of coercive interrogation apparently leading to the disclosure of life-saving information that it's simply not credible to claim it never works. Second, even though it does sometimes produce life-saving information, there's also serious and inherent issues with the use of torture. The consequences in terms of the worldwide reaction and the harm done to your moral position are incalculable. Therefore, many scholars maintain that torture is neither a highly effective method of interrogation or an effective strategic tool in asymmetric warfare and we must take every fair strategy we can to undo the destruction torture did.

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