The Case for Torture Wins Torture is it morally acceptable? Many have debated this argument but I would like to bring up two main conflicting view points from Michael Levin, and Marzieh Ghisai. Michael Levin is a Jewish law professor who wrote The Case for Torture where he advocates where torture is acceptable in some circumstances.
My opposition to torture fall under the beliefs of the absolutist Kant, who states that no matter what the circumstance is, something that is wrong will always be wrong (Boothe 2006, 12). Therefore, concerning the issue of torture, in this world or any other world, torture is immoral. In this paper, I will employ the ethical frameworks of virtue, rights, and fairness to argue against torture when viewed from the perspective of the victim, the torturer, and any outside source. Furthermore, I will dismantle the ticking-bomb scenario by deducing the incapability to achieve full certainty deeming these scenarios unrealistic.
In Michael Levin's The Case for Torture, Levin provides an argument in which he discusses the significance of inflicting torture to perpetrators as a way of punishment. In his argument, he dispenses a critical approach into what he believes justifies torture in certain situations. Torture is assumed to be banned in our culture and the thought of it takes society back to the brutal ages. He argues that societies that are enlightened reject torture and the authoritative figure that engage in its application risk the displeasure of the United States. In his perspective, he provides instances in which wrongdoers put the lives of innocent people at risk and discusses the aspect of death and idealism.
In Michael Levin’s “The Case for Torture”, he uses many cases of emotional appeal to persuade the reader that torture is necessary in extreme cases. There are many terms/statements that stick with the reader throughout the essay so that they will have more attachment to what is being said. Levin is particularly leaning to an audience based in the United States because he uses an allusion to reference an event that happened within the states and will better relate to the people that were impacted by it. The emotional appeals used in this essay are used for the purpose of persuading the reader to agree that in extreme instances torture is necessary and the United States should begin considering it as a tactic for future cases of extremity. One major eye catching factor of this essay is the repetitive use of words that imply certain stigmas.
After finding some torture tactics, it helped me research about the negative effects of torture. In his article, “Torture is a Crime”, Curt Goering listed the negative effects of torture. He argues that torture is illegal, ineffective, immoral and makes those around us unsafe. Curt uses ethos in his piece to back up his main argument. For example, he mentions that in 1984, the UN adopted the Convention against torture and it was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1990. In addition, he informs the reader about a CIA Detention and Interrogation Program which was a study that proved interrogation techniques were not effective. This is important because he uses many statistics and poll results to back up his argument. He also mentions a poll that was
The Torture of Waterboarding: Brave heroic actions bring awareness to the fact waterboarding is torture. In Christopher Hitchens “Believe Me, Its Torture”, Hitchens describes his experience with waterboarding to convince society this practice is indeed a torturous punishment. The maltreatment practice of “waterboarding” has been controversial for many years; therefore, in order to convince the audience, the matter is torturous, Christopher Hitchens undergoes this practice not only once but twice. The author uses his personal experience to illustrate the mental, physical and emotional stress he went through during the process.
Torture was also used as a tool or a method for the extraction of information or confessions. Torture was even used to satisfy personal hatred. Until the second century AD, torture was used only on slaves. A slave’s testimony was only valid if extracted by torture. Torture was used almost exclusively for the crime of treason.
Using torture as a way to extract evidence is an inhumane way to treat those under accusation. The argument that a confession given under these circumstances is legitimate, is a false claim. This is due to the victim's mindset being compromised from the extreme and extensive methods of torture. Another example of the unacceptable evidence used in court against those accused is the presence of the “devil’s mark”. “The belief was that the devil branded the bodies of witches with symbolic yet concrete corporeal malformations such as marks and growths” (Darr, 361).
While analyzing “The Torture Myth” and “The Case for Torture”, it is very clear to see the type of rhetorical appeals used to persuade the audience. Anne Applebaum, the writer of “The Torture Myth” --in context of the decision of electing a new Attorney General--would argue that torture is very seldomly effective, violates a person’s rights, and should be outlawed due to the irrational need upon which physical torture is used. On the other hand, Michael Levin strongly argues that physical torture is crucial to solving every imminent danger to civilians. Levin claims that if you don’t physically torture someone, you are being weak and want to allow innocent people to die over something that could have been simply done.
Mahatma Gandhi, the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement states “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” This is important because torture is brutal on the body and mind. The article “Torture’s Terrible Toll” by John McCain is more convincing then the article “The Case for Torture” by Michael Levin because McCain provides more logical reasoning, he adds his own personal experience of being a captured prisoner during the Vietnam War, and he creates an emotional bond with people around the world. Through more logical reasoning McCain Argument is more valid than Levin.
“Authorizing torture is a bad and dangerous idea that can easily be made to sound plausible.” This is a shockingly true statement. Heymann’s purpose in writing this article is to persuade readers to agree with him that torture should not be authorized. Heymann uses the persuasive appeal of pathos primarily in this article to convince his readers to agree with him. Although that is not to say he did not use other forms of persuasive appeal, heymann also used Logos and Ethos, just not as strongly as Pathos.
It is disturbing to learn how people were humiliated and maltreated, and how exquisitely brutal were the devices invented to subdue and discipline people. The reason torture was commonly accepted during the Middle Ages was the lack of police or law enforcement. It was believed that to prevent crime,
Anne Applebaum states “The really interesting question is not whether torture works but why so many people in our society want to believe it works.” Applebaum is against the use of torture as she questions its effectiveness. America has operated under the false pretense that torture is a viable option for obtaining information. She argues that torture damages the country’s image and does little to acquire useful intelligence. Torture is merely a way for officers to take their anger and frustration out on detainees.