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War and Torture

Ethics Presentation
by

Victoria McGinness

on 28 September 2012

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Transcript of War and Torture

Ethical Issue: Torture Torture

The act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge,
as a means of getting a confession
or information,
or for sheer cruelty Ethical
Approaches:
torture as a tool The Catholic Approach The Ethical Issue Natural
Law Methods Include:
water-boarding
stress positions
total isolation
sensory deprivation
prolonged denial of rest and sleep. The September 11 terrorist attacks resulted in the U.S. government's "war on terror". This government and many others brought in anti-terrorism legislation. These harsh methods include the authorisation and justification of cruel interrogation methods.
Including torture. Case Study Utilitarian In 2002, Abu Zubaydah, suspected of 9/11 involvement, was arrested by the U.S. military. Torture techniques including; forced nudity, sleep deprivation, confinement in small dark boxes, deprivation of solid food, stress positions, physical assaults and 83 instances of waterboarding were used to obtain 10 pieces of information. While most aspects and motivations of torture are clearly wrong and have no moral argument, an ethical debate can arise from it's use as a way to obtain a confession or information. A natural law approach would recognise the inherent cruelty involved in torture. Due to the abuse, a natural law approach would not justify the use of torture as it goes against the basic principle that evil should be avoided.
"There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics.
-Ali Soufan, FBI supervisory special agent, 1997 - 2005 “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

-United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1987 "If torture is the only means of obtaining the information necessary to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Times Square, torture should be used--and will be used--to obtain the information.... No one who doubts that this is the case should be in a position of responsibility."
-Richard Posner
United States Court The Two Arguments A Utilitarian approach could defend the use of torture to gain information if that information would benefit the majority. Cruelty towards one person can be justified if it will provide protection for others. This approach follows the concept of "the greater good." Example: Stress Position Perpetrators

prison officers/detention staff
the police
criminals
the military
paramilitary forces
state-controlled contra-guerilla forces But was this necessary? Nihilism A Nihilist would not have any ethical objection to the use of torture for information. Nihilism does not agree that actions come from a moral code so would therefore see nothing wrong with the ethical issues regarding torture. The Catholic Church condemns the use of torture in any context and regards it as a blatant violation of the dignity of a human person which has been made in God's image. Thank you for watching!
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