Sunday, 15 March 2009

Can Torture Ever Be Justified?

I was reading 'have your say' on the BBC, the question posed was; Can torture ever be justified? This question was raised in relation to Binyam Mohamed, who spent six years in Guantanamo Bay. The top comment recommended by 478 people as of writing this was:
My heart bleeds for him - not. He should be put back on a plane and sent "home". Why on earth the taxpayer is paying for this "resident" is beyond me. He can sue if he likes from where he comes from at his countrys expense - NOT OURS.
If he seeks "true Islam" then what is he doing here? Cashing in as usual...
I read four pages of comments and they were all in a similar vein. Putting aside his citizenship status as that is a separate issue. It shocks me that people can be so complacent about torture, comments like:
Oh yes. We're playing a dirty game against dirty players. If we have to win by using their own rules against them, so be it.

I dont know what he's complaining about. He should be thankful that he is still alive and he has still got a head and limbs.

Those men in Guantanamo Bay and other prisons, may or may not be guilty of any crime, but the moment they were tortured the ability to prosecute them was forfeited. As information or testimonies gained through torture isn't admissible in our courts.

So what about the credibly of the information. Is it a way to secure accurate and actionable information. Granted there is not a clear cut answer to that question, just searching for information on the web, examples can be found to support both sides of the argument. All studies agree though that people can confess or say anything in order to get the physical or mental torture to stop. That can easily lend to false information.

It's instinctive to get angry and want to retaliate, but where does this end if you say it's OK to torture someone under these circumstances, or we start to justify it in our own minds. It lessen the value of peoples lives, it's divisive, it is shameful, and what's point in it when we can't prosecute any one, does that really reflect the values of the West? I truly hope not, particularly when this looks so similar to the terrorist videos we see on our own screens.

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