Torture: The Moral, Pragmatic, and Legal Implications
AbstractWhat are the moral, pragmatic, and legal dimensions of torture as an interrogation method? This paper frames torture historically, and then explores the moral framework of torture through the contrast of consequentialist and deontological ethics systems. Pragmatic concerns are addressed by reviewing the reliability of information disclosed under torture and by gauging its efficacy in the Global War on Terror. Next, the paper’s legal analysis focuses on the codified definitions and prohibitions of torture found in domestic and international law. I conclude that in order to uphold the rule of law and the value of justice, the United States should acknowledge that torture is immoral and unreliable, officially recognize that the U.S. has made use of torture in the Global War on Terror, investigate and prosecute agents of the U.S. government who have engaged in or authorized torture, and open itself to investigation by the United Nations Committee Against Torture and the International Court of Justice.
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