Term Paper: Torture and Ethics

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¶ … Interview/Interrogation Concept or Concern

Ethics of Torture on Humans

It has been since always that information acquired by the humans has been wanted by others for a number of different reasons whether to get a head in life or for personal reasons, etc. In order to get the required information there are many different ways that the people have started to make use of that aren't really right with regards to the morals and ethics. Merriam has defined this to be the art of torture. Webster has defined it as: agony; anguish of the mind or body; something that results in pain or agony; inflicting extreme pain in order to punish, give aggressive pleasure; or coerce.

From the Roman Empire's B.C era up to the modern society this is one of the most inhumane and unjust actions that are performed by the humans against the humans and these actions are committed even under the codes of law which actually prevent the usage of such techniques. The Geneva Convention that took place in 1929 banned torture along with United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and all of the U.S.'s Armed Forces manuals. Still in this modern society that we live in today torture is being used as a means of getting the required information regarding the possible threats, enemies, possible attacks etc. (Parry, 2010).

There are a few people believe who believe there is nothing wrong with the usage of torture as "All is fair in love and war If using such techniques can help in achieving information that can save even one American life then it is worth it" or "It is al dependent on what in your opinion is torture. In my opinion when we do water boarding to train our own people I don't believe it to be torture. This is merely an example." I don't feel this attitude to be right. It was once said by Winston Churchill, "Cats look down on us. Dogs look up to us. I like pigs as they treat us as their equals." This is exactly how we all should view each other, on the exact same level and no one should think that he/she is better than the next person (Parry, 2010).

Therefore, in order to conduct a better analysis on the art of torture and to develop an argument of an ethical nature regarding this question it is important for a person to give some thought to and apple the 3 elementary criteria of: consequences, obligations and moral ideals. Generally speaking in my opinion torture is an unjust activity morally speaking, it is unethical and efforts should be made to make it an outlaw without any exception as, the very basic principles of respect are violated by it along with the thought of doing little wrong and much good in the everyday life of someone (Parry, 2010).

In order to understand the reasons why torture is considered to be unethical and unjust we need to look at the history of how it came into existence and exactly how it was started to be used on the humans. To start, it was the ancient Romans and Greeks who made use of torture in order to interrogate. Without hardly any exceptions torture was being used on the slaves only until the 2nd century AD. The story of Vercingetorix was one of the very few exceptions. The Gallic army was led by Vercingetorix against Julius Caesar but he was captured during the assault and was tortured and held captive for a period of 7 years until the war lasted and at the end of this period he was executed (Reddy, 2005).

It was after this incident that torture started to be extended to all the people in the lower class and the testimony of a slave was accepted only if it was extracted by the means of torture as, it was believed that when it came to telling the truth voluntarily the slaves were capable of doing no such thing. It is a very interesting fact that crucifixion was considered to be an act of torture in fact it is considered as a type of execution which because of its intense unpleasantness was only reserved for particular individuals so that they could be made an example out of. This further proves the need for torture to be made an outlaw in each and every country rather than in just the ones who agrees with it (Reddy, 2005).

In the same manner before crucifying the victims they were usually whipped very savagely with barbed metal lashes so that exsanguination could be induced which would weaken their condemn and would help in speeding up the long process of execution, this is another example of why it is important to make torture an outlaw and why it should be viewed as an unethical and unjust way of getting information. According to the modern scholars the concept of torture seems to be in compatibility with the concept of the society regarding Justice during the era of Jesus Christ (Reddy, 2005).

Torture was a part of the justice system in the Egyptian, Jewish, Roman and many other cultures in the history. Romans used crucifixion; Jews used stoning while the Egyptians made use of their desert sun. It was considered a necessity to implement all of these torturous acts in order to deter others and these acts were considered good as well since they were used to discipline the immoral people. In the early modern as well as the Medieval European courts torture was a very common practice and was used according to the social status and crime that was committed by the accused. In order to get the names of the accomplices and to get the confessions torture was considered a legal way of doing it (Reddy, 2005).

Many of the times torture would be inflicted on the defendants who had already been sentenced to death in an attempt to make them give up the names of their accomplices. In the Middle Ages this form of torture stayed around for a long time starting in 1252 from the Medieval Inquisition until 1816. It might be an interesting fact to mention here that it was always in secret that torture was done usually in the dungeons present underground. In contrast to this the torturous execution were usually carried out in from of the public (Levinson, 2006).

It became a very common practice in a lot of communities to torture the witches all though the 16th century. A large number of people targeted and tortured on the presupposition that they had an association with the devil. A considerable amount of freedom was developed in England when the trial by jury was introduced in order to evaluate the evidence and to condemn on circumstantial evidence, this made it unnecessary to torture the accused for the purpose getting information. In theory it was not permitted to make use of torture according to the English law however, in the early Stuart as well as Tudor times, torture was made use of in England under particular conditions (Levinson, 2006).

Eventually around 1640 torture was abolished officially in England. Women, in Colonial America, were subjected to the "dunking stool" or sentenced to the stocks while they had wooden clips on the tongues for talking too much which was considered to be a gender-specific crime. Sacrificial torture was started to be practiced by some Native American particularly in the eastern half of the U.S. The war captives were sacrificed in this torture (Vreeland, 2008).

In the European regions it was in the 18th century that a decline in the judicial torture incidents was seen. It was written to the Major-General Berthier by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 in Egypt that: We should abolish this barbarous trend of whipping the men who we thing have significant secrets. It is a known fact that torture is a useless method of trying to get information since the accused would say anything that they feel their torturer wants to hear in order to stop the torture from continuing. Therefore it is forbidden by the Commander-in-Chief forbids to make use of such methods which are in opposition to humanity and reason (Vreeland, 2008).

It was in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that torture began to be abolished in the European states. In 1722 Sweden and 1754 Prussia were the first ones to do this. In 1770 Denmark followed this trend. In 1776 Austria, 1780 France and in 1798 Netherlands followed and torture was abolished there as well. It was in 1811 that torture was abolished in Russia while, Bavaria and Wurttemburg did it in 1806 and 1809 respectively (Vreeland, 2008).

If we look at torture with respect to the modern times it can clearly be seen that the ideas regarding torture have changes as a result of the intense reaction that people has to the war crimes as well as the crimes that were committed by Axis Powers… [END OF PREVIEW]

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