In a previous post, I reported on a study that showed that the more someone attended church services, the more likely s/he was to support the use of torture.
WHY TORTURE IS WRONG
1. Torture is cruel and unusual punishment, which is forbidden by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The statement implies that our government will not inflict such treatment, regardless of the severity of a crime. Similar words appear in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
2. A government with a policy of torture leaves its own citizens and soldiers open to retaliatory torture.
3. Although I am not a believer, I pull my life philosophies and ethics from many sources. One of my core beliefs is that everyone should treat others as they wish to be treated. Nearly every culture and/or religion on earth has some similar ethical regulation which would certainly rule out torture.
Hinduism demands that "no man do to another that which would be repugnant to himself."
The Torah instructs, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Confucius said, "What you do not want done to ourself, do not unto others."
Buddha taught us to consider others as ourselves.
The Stoics of ancient Greece argued that all men are "equal persons in the great court of liberty."
The Christian gospels demands, "Do unto others as you would have done to you."
The Quran warns that a true believer must love for his brother that he loves for himself.
The world's first known legal code's purpose was " to cause justice to prevail and to ensure that the strong do not oppress the weak." This was the law code of Hammurabi ---in the area now known as Iraq.
(Source: The Mighty and the Almighty by Madeleine Albright, former UN Ambassador and Secretary of State)
4. Information attained through torture is unreliable. If someone knows nothing, s/he will make up information to feed to torturers just to stop the torture. If suspects do know something, they may give false information to a hated enemy both to stop the torture and misdirect the torturers.
5. Those who have been tortured, if ever released, have horror stories to tell which, in the case of terrorists, often give cause to others to join terrorist groups. Relatives of torture victims may retaliate with suicide bombs or other terrorist acts.
6. There have been recent reports of Iran (& other countries) torturing its own citizens who do not follow strict government mandates. We have lost our moral high ground to oppose such behavior when we have engaged in similar behavior ourselves.
7. Torture is just plain wrong, unethical, and inhumane behavior. I have always been appalled by countries that have engaged in torture. I used to think America was better than that.
8. The ends do not justify the means. There may be times when torture leads to information that may save lives, but by torturing suspected terrorists, we become terrorists ourselves.
(©2009 C Woods)
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