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Debate Info

156
176
Yes No
Debate Score:332
Arguments:190
Total Votes:407
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes (99)
 
 No (91)

Debate Creator

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Interrogators Should Be Allowed To Torture Suspects For Information

Yes

Side Score: 156
VS.

No

Side Score: 176
6 points

The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few.

Side: yes
5 points

Exactly, let's say if an individual knows where is a bomb is and it is going to be set off in a major city, and you had find out where it was to deactivate it?

I would beat the shit outta him until he squealed, one little shit life isn't worth millions.

Side: yes
zproach(252) Disputed
3 points

This extreme example cannot be applied to the topic on hand, torture in general, because it is extremely unique. Otherwise I could just bring up an example of hundreds of innocent people being mercilessly tortured for information they can't give just because security forces acted rashly on an assumption.

We have to look at the big picture because of course there are always going to be exceptions (like the one you brought up) to the rule. An exception to the rule doesn't justify disbanding the entire rule.

Side: No
2 points

I've been saying the exact same thing for a while - both on here and to my relatives. Nobody agrees with me.

Side: yes
aveskde(1935) Disputed
2 points

Exactly, let's say if an individual knows where is a bomb is and it is going to be set off in a major city, and you had find out where it was to deactivate it?

Oh it starts that way, the exceptional circumstances one can imagine to justify inflicting severe pain upon a person in order to get information. Then it becomes about using torture on normal suspects because it's easier, and then your rights just vanish so quickly and now you look no better than the backwards countries in Africa, the Middle East, or even countries like Brasil where police beat people with near-impunity as part of the job.

How much is civilised society worth to you? How hard would you defend it against the increasingly easier ways we can subvert it?

Side: No
RhymedReason(23) Disputed
2 points

This is an extreme example, and so can not be used for the general examples.

Side: No
gcomeau(536) Disputed
5 points

Now try arguing that torturing people actually serves the needs of the many.

Side: No
TERMINATOR(6764) Disputed
2 points

It is, as always, dependent on the circumstance.

Side: yes
Garfeild4317(17) Disputed
4 points

There's no such thing as black and white in this world when it comes to moral issues. Torture? Would that REALLY get the information you need out of them? Or would it just get them to tell you anything to stop the pain. To back this statement without criticising it would be moronic in my opinion. Torture is illegal for many, many reasons, and to want it legalised is fairly sadistic of you in my eyes.

Side: No
TERMINATOR(6764) Disputed
5 points

It is an acceptable risk - them lying. It's much better than the hypothetical bomb going off.

By the way - I am not much of a sadist. If you asked if I were a masochist, I'd agree to an extent. If you asked if I were insane - I would say no, but mildly psychopathic.

Side: yes
Sulith(508) Disputed
3 points

So then tell me, is One mans life worth more than millions?

Torture is necessary with the right kind of enemy.

Lets take a dog for example (We don't torture dogs, but just hold on) if your dog chews up something your not just going to let it get away with it, no! Your going to slap it or whatever.

The point being is some people ONLY respond/obey to pain just as dogs do.

Another, if someone had kidnapped your daughter/son/wife/husband/Whatever! and you found him would you torture him to get the information out or would you pussy foot around and ask him polity and bring roses to him?

And don't tell me its not the same if the government is doing it it's always the same.

Personally I would just kick someones ass for doing that, but, that's just me.

Side: yes
aveskde(1935) Disputed
4 points

The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few.

Cliches don't make an argument, besides the fact that allowing the torture of suspects doesn't benefit the many, because our legal system presently protects the many from torture.

So really you should phrase it as:

The needs of the few agents, police, and investigators outweigh the needs of the many citizens who require a set of rights to feel protected even in unusual circumstances.

Side: No
TERMINATOR(6764) Disputed
2 points

They will not feel protected after another 9/11.

Side: yes
1 point

We are dealing with terrorists. They are using everything they have to be against us. Naturally we should use everything we have fight with them and protect our people - torture is one of the tools we have and we should use it when it's necessary.

Side: yes
3 points

Inter arma enim silent leges

Side: yes
gcomeau(536) Disputed
3 points

That does not mean all things are legally justified in times of war.

Hence the existence of war crimes .

Side: No
TERMINATOR(6764) Disputed
3 points

War crimes were not an issue in Ancient Rome - when this quote was first written.

Side: yes
3 points

So there are a few outcomes with the debate about torture. Perhaps you do torture a few terrorists (who despise our country anyway, even before the torture), then you find out information and save hundreds or even thousands of lives from an attack. Or maybe you don't torture. Then you could technically get lucky and catch the attack before it happens, but without intel. That's tough to do though and most likely, due to a lack of information, the terrorists would find a way around our securities to attack again. The way I see it, it's torturing a few terrorists who want us dead and saving hundreds or thousands of lives. Or we don't torture and let our own citizens die.

Side: yes
zproach(252) Disputed
2 points

But torture doesn't necessarily lead to good intelligence. In fact, it can lead to the exact opposite causing a waste of resources.

Plus, there are more than just two outcomes; this isn't a do or die topic. There are boundless ramifications of the use (or non-use) of torture. Also, there is no way to prove that everybody in a military prison is actually a terrorist or an innocent bystander who was mistaken for a terrorist. This leaves the possibility that we may torture innocent persons; an atrocity that we, as a nation, cannot stand for.

Side: No
NVYN(288) Disputed
1 point

But torture doesn't necessarily lead to good intelligence. In fact, it can lead to the exact opposite causing a waste of resources

Do it properly and it won't result in misleading intelligence.

.

This leaves the possibility that we may torture innocent persons; an atrocity that we, as a nation, cannot stand for

The reality is that we do our best not to capture and convict an innocent, but we inevitably do imprison innocents. This does not mean that we should carry on investigating and imprisoning criminals. The same goes for torture.

Side: yes
2 points

yes they can torture if the subject if they are absoulutely sure that they have the infromation. but if they are not sure then no they should not be allowed to torture the suspect if they have no convincing evidence that they know

Side: Yes and No
2 points

yes if the interrogators are are sure beyond reasonable doubt that the person is guilty or has the infromation that could save lives then yes torture them. if there is any reasonable doubt then don't torture them unless some new facts turn up or you catch them trying to leave the country.

Side: Yes and No
2 points

There are people (including myself) who sleep soundly at night because of what we do to terrorists. It may be morally wrong but these people can and will kill hundreds of innocent others, and it's also wrong to see heads get cut off on TV.

Side: yes
1 point

Torture must be allowed and regulated because it has merits as a way to obtain information that otherwise may be withheld (that's why it's done regardless of the law, and the US does it by doing everything it can to circumvent the laws and conventions regarding it, so why don't we just legalize it?).

.

There's just 1 important proviso: if it cannot be regulated, it must be banned. Simple as that.

.

- Torture must not be done for a confession. (as confessions without hard evidence to back them up are (in my view) useless, torture or not. But if you have hard evidence already, then a confession is no longer necessary).

- The law must regulate the methods, tactics and pretty much everything else about torture to maximize effectiveness and minimize harm to the torture victim. For example: Torture must be done in a controlled environment with supervision and video monitoring, etc.

Side: yes
6 points

It may have some merits but, these merits are heavily outweighed by moral and practical issues. Why should we use a questionable method of obtaining information when we have more modern and humane ways of obtaining information?

Side: No
1 point

It may have some merits but, these merits are heavily outweighed by moral and practical issues

Those who take the moral high ground when it comes to treating criminals should go and form a country by themselves. Then when they get robbed, killed, kidnapped, perhaps they'll send those crims into a piece of land outside their jurisdiction so if torture takes place, it's not on their land! The moral high ground always makes me sick, when it disregards reality.

.

On the practicality of torture, it works, that's why it's used. Sure we have modern and humane ways of obtaining info, so keep using those methods, torture is meant to be a complement, not a substitute.

.

Torture should be strictly regulated.

Side: yes
1 point

In certain circumstances torture is useful and it does work.

As a lot of you are saying

"when you are tortured you will say anything to make it stop"

That is true and if you have the information i need you will tell me to stop the torture!

Also, sometimes you have to play by the rules of the other team, they torture and kill our guys...we will do the same to you! even if that doesn't give us the info we need it might work as a deterrent for some.

Why should we always be the "good guys"

Side: yes
0 points

Guantanamo Bay tortured non-uniformed terrorists that did not serve a country. As long as they are non-uniformed and are confirmed guilty, not just suspects, it is ok to torture.

Side: yes
7 points

The price we pay for living in a free society with guaranteed civil liberties and provisions which prevent cruelty towards citizens is inclusion of criminal suspects among the protected. When we start to allow torture of criminals and suspects we start to lose that dignity which makes our country worth defending against other countries which have few civil liberties.

Side: No
NVYN(288) Disputed
2 points

Yes it's always nice and inspiring to take the moral high grounds but the fact is we DO torture people, the only way to have any dignity left is to acknowledge that and manage it better.

Side: yes
aveskde(1935) Disputed
3 points

Yes it's always nice and inspiring to take the moral high grounds but the fact is we DO torture people, the only way to have any dignity left is to acknowledge that and manage it better.

Or pressure other nations to ensure human rights universally. Another approach is to ban torture by proxy with stiff and swift penalties. This isn't a light subject that we should just accept, it's a matter of people being kidnapped and transported to foreign nations where they are at best interrogated using morally ambiguous methods such as sensory, food and sleep deprivation combined with battery; at worst it means being placed in excruciating positions in order to break the person down.

This is a matter of inflicting harm upon a person without even a proper trial.

Side: No
6 points

The real world is not "24" with Jack Bauer. And people need to grow up and stop thinking it works that way. Professionals interrogate. Terrified amateurs in way over their heads torture.

Torture isn't used to extract intelligence, it's used to extract confessions... TRUE OR NOT. People being tortured will tell you anything they think you want to hear to make the torture stop.

And we pay an extremely heavy price in international credibility and support for engaging in this kind of contemptable behavior. You can't run around the world telling everyone they should support your agenda because you're the good guys while engaging in the most despicable criminal behaviour and declaring it's ok when you do it because you're special.

Side: No

Yes, we agree with something. Interrogation using torture is only only ineffective but morally wrong.

Side: No
NVYN(288) Disputed
2 points

People being tortured will tell you anything they think you want to hear to make the torture stop

That's why you should never use torture to obtain a confession.

.

It should only be done to obtain information from uncooperative suspects. And if the info they give you is bs, then they'd get double pain when you find out. So lying in that case isn't a way to stop pain.

.

And we pay an extremely heavy price in international credibility and support for engaging in this kind of contemptable behavior. You can't run around the world telling everyone they should support your agenda because you're the good guys while engaging in the most despicable criminal behaviour and declaring it's ok when you do it because you're special

This is because the US goes about it the wrong way: Sneaking around, circumventing laws, unregulated methods used by undisciplined personnel, etc...

If you sneak around and you get caught, it's a bad thing.

If you're up front about it and do it properly for the right reasons, people will support it. It happens everywhere, why wouldn't people support it? They only don't support its abuse.

Side: yes
gcomeau(536) Disputed
4 points

I'm sorry. So... it's bad to get false confessions but it's good to get false information?

And we're doing this in situations where we have time to take their information, act on it, discover whether it's correct or incorrect, come back, repeat the process... etc... meaning we're not talking about "ticking bomb" scenarios but just general "tell me something I want to know or I'll torture it out of you" scenarios?

So... we're basically North Korea now? That's your brilliant idea?

And you think the problem is we don't ADVERTISE torture programs? Are you supposed to be on some medication that you've gone off of?

Side: No
aveskde(1935) Disputed
2 points

It should only be done to obtain information from uncooperative suspects. And if the info they give you is bs, then they'd get double pain when you find out. So lying in that case isn't a way to stop pain.

Have you ever been tortured? Have you ever been actively drowned, deprived of the ability to breathe as water covers your face? You'd say anything to make it stop.

If you're up front about it and do it properly for the right reasons, people will support it. It happens everywhere, why wouldn't people support it? They only don't support its abuse.

People wouldn't support it because torture is one of the defining human rights abuses of "regimes" in the world, used as a method to intimidate the population. It's one of the privileges of civilised society that we are protected from such abuse.

Side: No
3 points

I tend to shy away from the word suspects in this debate. I will put aside the morality argument as it will get nowhere.

No one should torture a suspect for information.

There are two properties to be weighed in performing an action such as torture: definite harm and potential harm. Definite harm is the harm you will directly inflict upon a suspect and will undoubtedly happen. Potential harm is the harm that will result from not retrieving the information. The issue with potential harm is that gaining the tools to prevent that is purely a matter of chance. If you catch a suspect in a murder investigation and torture him for information, the harm you inflicted upon him or her is real and definite, but the suspect may have no useful information, resulting in an irrelevant potential harm.

At the end of the day, the interrogator may go home saying, "Well that was useless, and I just [expletive]ed up someones life."

Side: No
NVYN(288) Disputed
0 points

No one should torture a suspect for information.

I agree. Suspects are not convicted of any crimes. They are no different to anyone of us and should be afforded the same rights.

.

If, on the other hand, you are a criminal, you have the right to remain silent, but you should also have the right to pain. :)

.

This is useful for extracting info from a criminal who's been caught robbing someone at gun point. He/she may have info regarding the whereabouts of accomplices, etc... So if there's overwhelming evidence of his criminal activities, then even before he is convicted in court (or his lawyer agrees on a plea bargain), we should torture him.

Side: yes
2 points

This is where we agree on some ground. I feel that I have no moral obligation to protect an individual who has committed a crime. The issue is the position of the bright line.

Where is the bright line between suspect and criminal?

Until that question can be answered, issues with torture are much more plentiful. Obviously, the scenario you gave shows an individual as an obvious criminal, but sometimes it is not that simple.

Side: No
2 points

I believe that torture is inhumane.

Why should we put someone through pure hell simply because they know something that we want to know? If the tortured person was a terrorist, and torturing this terrorist was therefore considered by people as the right thing to do, then wouldn't that be an "eye for an eye," which seems to have brought more trouble than it has removed?

Side: No
2 points

Actually, in almost any situation in this might be realistically used it's because they MIGHT know something we want to know. If the Bush admin's track record is anything to go by we'll be torturing innocent people who don't even know anything half the time and they'll be yelling out pure imaginary answers just to make it stop, then we'll be running around chasing fairy tales, finding nothing, and torturing them again because they "lied" to us.

People are morons, they really are.

Side: No
NVYN(288) Disputed
1 point

this is why the use of torture must be strictly regulated, like the use of guns.

Side: yes
NVYN(288) Disputed
2 points

Why should we put someone through pure hell simply because they know something that we want to know

Someone already made the point that the information extracted may save lots and lots of lives, so 1 person going through pure hell is ok if a lot of people get to live.

.

It's not an eye for an eye, it's some pain in exchange for a lot of lives.

Side: yes
SMCdeBater(242) Disputed
3 points

Look, it saves lives, sometimes, I don't deny that, but let's face the fact that torture is something that no-one deserves, and that we don't have the right to judge as to who should be tortured and who shouldn't. Now, this doesn't comply to interrogators, as they know who they are interrogating and what they are hoping to get out of them, but the message is still there; it is an undeserving act of abuse. Why don't we start upgrading our Lie-Detecting system and start using that as a supplement? We get the truth and false defined without anyone getting hurt. If people start messing up the system, then we work to fix it. Sure, it is harder, but it is less demoralizing and much more humane.

Side: No
TERMINATOR(6764) Disputed
1 point

Torturing terrorists, contrary to popular belief, is not meant as a form of punishment. It is done to gain knowledge which could potentially nullify a future terrorist attack. Is it not better for the terrorist to be put through hell then for the innocent Americans being attacked?

There is no time for humanity during war - if you believe it to be inhumane now, how will you feel with your entire family dead?

Side: yes
aveskde(1935) Disputed
2 points

Torturing terrorists, contrary to popular belief, is not meant as a form of punishment. It is done to gain knowledge which could potentially nullify a future terrorist attack. Is it not better for the terrorist to be put through hell then for the innocent Americans being attacked?

You presume that the people being tortured are known terrorists and not simply suspects who are innocent and will suffer extreme emotional damage. You also seem to believe that somehow a barrier exists that will never let torture be applied to say, enemies of the state, or political enemies. One of the hallmarks of a civilised society is the dependence upon law and human rights instead of violence and intimidation.

There is no time for humanity during war - if you believe it to be inhumane now, how will you feel with your entire family dead?

If there were no time for humanity during war, we would have reduced Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan to smouldering beds of glass instead of using intelligence and diplomacy. Only fools act flippantly like you are over our core concepts of human rights, because they do not realise how difficult it is to get human rights back once you start to give them away due to fear.

Side: No
2 points

There is a moral and a practical argument against torture; the moral argument is obvious and, the practical argument is easy to explain.

The moral argument is that it is wrong to cause pain to others. This holds true even if torturing people would help out the common good because we have to judge morality based off of actions --not consequences. This is true because it is only our actions that we can really control; that to judge an action on its consequences allows external factors to influence how we determine morality.It is easily seen how torture contributes unjust suffering to captives. Why is it unjust? Well to find that out you all you need to do is read the 8th amendment to the constitution that prohibits the use of cruel punishment. Some may argue that the Bill of Rights only applies to citizens of the United States but, that simply is not true. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that these rights are limited to citizens and, the 9th amendment can be used to apply these rights to our captives. Essentially, we are bound to give all of the Constitutional protections to those under our jurisdiction.

The second argument is the pragmatic argument. Simply put, torture actually slows the justice process down instead of making it easier. Sure, information can be obtained quickly by torturing people but, that information is likely to be misleading. People will say anything they think a torturer wants to hear; it doesn't matter if it's true or not. This slows down the whole system because it forces out security forces to stretch out its resources amongst many (probably false) leads. This won't lead to anywhere good for the US.

Because of the moral and practical ramifications of torture interrogators should stop using it.

Side: No
NVYN(288) Disputed
3 points

The moral argument is that it is wrong to cause pain to others

Yes, it's wrong, but when people do cause pain and plan to cause pain and have info regarding their plans to cause pain as well as info on the locations of others who caused pain or plan to cause pain, then we should inflict pain on them to minimize pain. Doing that will result in a society with as little pain as possible.

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Sure, information can be obtained quickly by torturing people but, that information is likely to be misleading

Do it properly and you won't get misleading information. It works, that's why we do it.

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Take the moral high ground if you want, but torture exists for a reason and because we've swept it under the carpet for too long, rejecting on these moral high grounds, we end up abusing it. If a violent convicted criminal is caught and is likely to hold information that could stop more crimes, then we should not spare him of any pain. The other thing is if we will execute a criminal, that is to end his life, we should not shy away from inflicting pain for info that would further the cause of justice.

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Accept it, research it, regulate its use.

Side: yes
zproach(252) Disputed
3 points

Morality

Utilitarianism is a faulty way of judging morality because it can be used to justified any action just by skewing how one looks at a society; the means must justify themselves, which in the case of torture they do not. Keep in mind that we have an obligation to not violate the constitution in any way, which torture does.

Quality of Information

There is no way to do torture properly because it is a flawed system of interrogation. People, in times of duress, because of their fight of flight response will start to spout off information, regardless of its accuracy, in order to stop the torture.

And if we are fighting for democratic ideals like we claim to be doing we should have to use these democratic ideals in our own policies.

Side: No
2 points

NO! Definatly not! Torturing people will not get you anywhere. Violence is not the answer.

Side: No
2 points

It's not right to tortue people. It's not fair. The word torture shouldn't even exist in the English language. Violence will never be the answer!

Side: No
trumpeter93(998) Disputed
2 points

You cowardly hippie! Life is unfair- get used to it! Violence has solved most of the worlds conflicts. WW1, WW2, Civil War, Revolutionary War, the French Revolution etc.

Side: yes
2 points

umm, i think not because when you are being tortured for a long (or even short) period of time, your gonna say whatever you need to, to get out of that situation. for example... if someone tortured you because they thought you took there wallet, your not gonna keep denying it if they say ''if you tell me the truth that you took it ill let you go''... even if you didn't take it... wouldn't you want to get out of that situation as quick as possible by just saying ''YES!!!, i took the damn thing!!'' think about it. the same thing applies with more serious information, many non guilty inmates where put in jail just because the police kept grilling them. what do you think now?!?!?

Side: No
2 points

No.

For one, it is an inhumane way to treat people, just to get a piece of information, and for the second, the information given is likely to be false, simply to end the pain and suffering. It gets you a quickly constructed lie to stop the pain.

Side: No
1 point

No. What if you get someone who legitimately does not have the information you are looking for? Aside from the fact that it is too late to say sorry, they might say what you want to hear just to get it to stop.

And it strains foreign relations.

There are some rather devious psychological interrogation methods that while frightening, are not in violation of the Geneva Convention.

Side: No
1 point

NO NO NO! There is an EXTREMELY High Rate that the person could admit to something they didn't do!

Side: No