Most of us believe that it really works--beating vital information out of a criminal could save lives. Well, if mutilating John Doe's penis is going to stop a bomb going off in my favourite football stadium then hand me the dagger.
But what if he isn't the one? Are we torturing someone for something he didn't commit? Human-rights activists are opposed to torture, and rightly so, or else why would they call themselves "human-rights activists"? =P
Everybody says they're opposed to torture. But everyone would do it personally if they knew it could save the life of a kidnapped child who had only two hours of oxygen left before death. And it would be the right thing to do.
It's a compelling argument, until you start to look at the assumptions that you have to make to accept it. This argument assumes that:
a)You have the right person in custody
b)This person has the information you need
c)There isn't a better way of getting hold of the evidence
d)Torture is an effective way of getting that information.
When they are in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. That means the information you're getting is useless.
|American soldiers torturing Iraqi P.O.W in Abu Ghraib Prison. Image: andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com|
…the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.
Suppose I start smacking your head, urging you to confess that Justin Bieber or Joe Brooks(Jocelyn Stemilyn I wonder whether you're reading this XD) are in fact two supremely talented artists. Eventually, despite taking several days of torture to get there, you'll tell me what I want to hear, but that doesn't make it true.
The use of torture has to be justified, as I said, I am not completely against the usage of it. Enough said.