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Friday, March 11, 2011

Torture is Justice? Opinion on torture tactics by governments.

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By Briana Booker

We are living in an era where terrorism, a political revolt and war tactic, is placed in the spotlight of international concerns. Debates on whether torture can be justified to obtain crucial information for the sole purpose of protecting American civilians is becoming common. However, torture is never justifiable because there is an alternative to protecting American citizens from social and physical harm without sacrificing the social and physical well-being of labeled offenders. The government should never allow the desire for information to outweigh the moral and ethical elements that the United States of American has built this country upon- the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In fact, crucial information can be obtained by giving out incentives rather than punishments. This tactic should be used rather than torture.              Torture is not justifiable because its objectives are too similar to terrorism; it can not win a battle against an opponent with similar strengths and weaknesses.                                                       
Terrorism objective is to use fear to coerce governments and civilians to do its will. Terrorists seek social solidarity and commit violent and unlawful acts because they want to revenge against those whom have created and live within social structures they disfavor. They blame western culture for the economic failures and political instabilities within their own homelands. They feel vulnerable. The dramatic irony is that the USA and its civilians want revenge for being placed in a similar predicament of vulnerability.                                                                   
Americans see the tactic of torture as a way to squeeze out crucial information from terrorists to give them back the security they once held in financial and social structures before September 11th. Americans want to use coercion through emotional and physical pain.             
  Both parties using various degrees of coercion and torture have not resulted in much success in achieving their objectives fully. This suggests that an alternative strategy is necessary.   Specified needs and wants of both parties need to be address so a resolution can be achieved, this includes restoring due process for offenders and reforming positive social policies and structures in America and societies that breed and harbor terrorists’ cells.                                  
There is no profile of a defined terrorist or any universal agreements against torture. This is highly problematic. Torture can never be used as an instrument to rehabilitate, bring peace or order to society. It is inappropriate. By no means should detainees be physically and judicially abused in civilian and military trials. Both torturers and terrorists intentionally inflict suffering upon target groups in hope for some type of confession or intimidation success. Two wrongs never make a right.                                                                                                                                            In the global community torture is not allowed under international law. The United States government, whom has vowed to honor agreements protecting human rights of all, should not use loop holes in the system to practice torture in countries that openly use such heinous acts. It displays the United States government as illegitimate if it cannot be accountable to honor its written and unwritten support for universal human rights. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights declares no one should be subjected to any degree of torture. This includes offenders and those suspected to be offenders. It is inhumane to take away these universal rights from anyone.                                                                                                                          
Conflict of interest is the issue. The alternative that will be in the best interest of all and has a better potential to obtain crucial information would be to use financial incentives to persuade terrorists to be more cooperative with the United States government. I do not mean using actual liquid assets and giving them to terrorist cells. Financial incentives should be used in the form of commodities and building up infrastructures in the societies terrorists’ families live within. A majority of individuals whom become terrorists initiate themselves into these violent causes to improve the health and financial well being of their families.                                            
By the United States government promising and living up to this promise of developing these communities, it would decrease the appeal for individuals to support and be instruments in terrorist’s ideologies and actions. By creating a strong, positive, social and organic solidarity to the environments that breed and harbor terrorist cells, will in fact maximum the United States civilians’ freedoms and securities.                                                                                            Forming organic social solidarity in developing countries vulnerable to terrorists’ cells will form open discussion, equality of opportunity in society as well as moral and social justice (over time).  It will decrease the amounts of social misfits who are attracted to terrorist organizations, as Tom Friedman (American journalist and three time Pulitzer Prize winner) discussed with Katie Couric on CBS News. It is a win-win situation for all involved. Torture will not give these benefits to the American people or anyone else in the global community.                             
It is crucial to remember that every choice comes with consequences. Neither terrorism nor torture is new in social behavior. To allow the United States government to obtain the most beneficial information to protect the American people, it must trace back to the origins of why this present dilemma is such a serious issue. The origins signify that this problem is a resultant of national and social inequalities. No one wants to be at a disadvantage. Everyone wants to develop and be socially comfortable. Violence will not help. To end terrorism social reform needs to be accomplished that benefits both sides of the debate. Torture benefits no one. Implementing pain increases conflict, but implementing incentives increases cooperation. We need and want joint action and cooperation. This is the reason why torture is never justifiable.

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