Why Is Torture Morally Wrong

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On 1st November 2003, the Associated Press published a report on inhumane treatment and deaths at Abu Ghraib along with other American prison cells as confessed by ex-Iraqi detainees (Associated Press, 2003). Photos of prisoners being shamed, tortured and abused sexually have been made public (Higham and Stephens, 2004). The Office of Legal Counsel in United States Department of Justice used the Torture Memos, which sanctioned some advanced interrogation techniques involving the torture, to justify the prison wardens’ actions. While act of torture in essence is morally wrong, I will argue that there are one-off extreme cases under which torture is morally justifiable so long as torture is not institutionalized. To begin, we have to seek a common definition of torture and explain why it is morally impermissible before uncovering the extreme cases.
According to United Nations Human Rights (1987):
Torture is defined as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is
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Torturing a person to death is surely worse than killing but not all tortures entail killing. Both acts disrupt the normal conduct of human life. During the period of torture, the victim experience extreme pain (mental or physical or both) and there is an imbalance of power relation between the torturer and victim as the latter is utterly powerless. The severe suffering and the loss of autonomy experienced by the victim, he would seemingly rather be dead than being tortured. Moreover a dead person has no autonomy, so if torturing strips the victim’s freedom, there is little difference between being tortured and death. However, it does not imply that torture is less preferable to killing. Also, it does not imply that the act of torture is morally worse than killing because torture may be short termed and that the victim’s will may be still intact but there is certainly no life for the victim if he is
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