Alexandra Clayton, Alison Flanagan, Caitlin Howard, Kaelyn Lykins, Molly Parks
Rel 206 B- Benko
April 27, 2010
War and Torture
Throughout history, mankind has been at odds with itself, whether in family quarrels or
Humans have always taken part in violent conflicts where ends justify
means and lives are destroyed.
Especially in times of war, the most controversial of these means
has been the various methods of torture.
This paper explores the ethics and justice of torture
practices by a government group after war has begun.
Torture as an interrogation method has a very specific definition which allows for several
By definition, all methods of intentional torture involve putting a person in extreme
physical suffering, whether it be mentally or physically. The Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy defines torture in two ways: the intentional infliction of extreme physical suffering
on some non-consenting, defenseless person, and the intentional, substantial restriction of the
exercise of the person's autonomy, achieved by means of physical suffering.
Some examples of
torture include searing one with hot irons, burning at the stake, electric shock treatment, cutting
out parts of the body, severe beatings, suspending one by the legs with their arms tied behind
their back, applying thumbscrews, inserting a needle under the fingernails, drilling through an
anaesthetized tooth, making a person crouch for hours in the ‘Z’ position, water boarding, and
denying food, water, or sleep for days or weeks on end. Some of these examples are not