The United States Torture Policy

The United States should not have the right to torture terrorists. A terrorist can be defined as anyone who conducts a violent act or act dangerous to human life which violates the laws of the U.S. in order to

intimidate a government or population (Schmalleger, 2008). However, torture of terrorists has been going on for some time even though it remains illegal to use torture on anyone. Proof of this is shown by the United States government using rendition -or the system of sending suspected terrorists to other countries whose torture laws are less strict- to be interrogated (Moher, 2004). The United States does not have the right to torture terrorists because it contradicts Section 1 of the 14th amendment, it violates the Geneva Convention, and scenarios used to justify torture are rarely presented.

Firstly, torture of terrorists contradicts Section 1 of the 14th amendment which prohibits any state to “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This amendment means that there is a process that must be dutifully carried out in order to convict a person of a suspected crime. Torture is not one of these processes. It deprives the suspect of life in some cases because the interrogators in other countries do not have the same moral standards as the U.S. would have, and could possibly take things to far and unintentionally kill the suspect. Liberty or freedom as well as property are deprived due to the fact that they are being held against their will and taken away from familiar surroundings. Obviously this does not comply with the 14th amendment and is by law unconstitutional.

Secondly, the torture of suspected terrorists violates the Geneva Convention. To most soldiers this is a treaty that offers them a source of protection in case of capture in a war (Massimino, 2004). In short the Geneva Convention was developed to protect captured, sick, or fallen soldiers and also civilians in a time of war. The torture of these suspected terrorists is without a doubt a violation of this treaty. It’s simple to see that torturing “enemy” soldiers or civilians to get information is not protecting them like the convention requires. If this continues not only will the United States be in violation of this law, but it will put our soldiers in danger because other countries will fail to recognize the importance of the Geneva Convention as well.

Third and last is the fact that scenarios such as the “ticking time bomb” scenario used to justify the torturing of suspected terrorists is rarely presented in reality (Massimino, 2004). If a detainee is caught and said to have information on an event that may be dangerous to many people, it still does not give the United States a right to torture this suspect. Not only does this rarely happen, but there are many things that could prove to be wrong with this justification model. It would be possible for the detainee to be lying about the supposed event. Also many people who will commit these acts believe that if they die for their country, they will be blessed later on. Torturing these people would do no good because they are ready to die. Therefore torture proves to irrelevant in any of these situations.

In conclusion, torture is neither constitutional or justified by any means. It directly contradicts the 14th amendment of due process, violates the Geneva Convention, and the situations in which it is said to be justified only occasionally happen. If the United States expects its troops, civilians, and country to be protected under these laws and agreements they must also respect the laws and abide by them. Torture should remain outlawed. In the wrong hands it could be dangerous not only to terrorists, but also to regular civilians in times of non-war and in time become something monstrous.