Is Torture Morally Justifiable?

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Is Torture Morally Justifiable? Abstract This paper explores the idea that torture is sometimes morally justifiable to achieve a goal in extreme circumstances, although it does not support the notion that torture should be legalized or otherwise institutionalized. I start by describing what torture is and how its utility may be established. I then consider a case study, and examine it to determine how torture can be morally permissible in extreme circumstances. Is Torture Morally Justifiable? Torture has always been debated regarding its ethical and moral justification. The largest and still on going debate is whether or not torture is effective enough to disregard international and domestic laws such as the Geneva Conventions. In the past, and especially during wartime, atrocities have been committed in ill regard to these laws. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are prime examples of how the use of torture can become unlawful if not properly controlled. Despite the unethical and questionable methods of torturous counterinsurgency committed in the past, there are still occasions when torture could be necessary in order to achieve a specific goal. In this paper I will argue that torture can be morally justified in extreme emergencies, and only as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted. However, I will also argue that despite its moral permissibility, torture should not to be legalized or otherwise institutionalized. In order to fully understand why torture may be morally justifiable we must first have a firm understanding of what torture is, and how it may also be morally impermissible. Definition of Torture Most common definitions of torture include the idea of its purpose being for revenge, punishment, cruelty, or the mere pleasure of those committing it. As a result, this has further strengthened the debate for its unethical
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