Redefinition of Torture

Redefinition of Torture - Zach Schatz December 8, 2010 WRT...

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Zach Schatz December 8, 2010 WRT 105 Mums the Word on the T-word On May 6 th , 2004 President Bush came forward to publicly apologize for a mistake made by the American government. In the days preceding this apology pictures of Iraqi prisoners being tortured were leaked to the press. These appalling images seemed un-American, going against the purpose of the war on terror. President Bush said he was, “sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners” (Murphy, 2004). This statement gained attention as the government intentionally neglected to acknowledge the torture these prisoners endured at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Words such as “abuse” and “humiliation” were put in place of the dreaded t-word. Throughout history the word “torture” has developed various meanings under different circumstances. In order to conduct certain procedures in the pivotal years of the war on terror, the US government abolished the traditional definition of torture, knowingly abusing their authority. The perspective of the controversial redefinition varies between the outlook of the United States and the United Nations. In contrast to these general perspectives, an outcry from regular citizens was also prevalent during this time. In a time of crisis the US government chose to abuse their power by rewording the law, and even though the defense states that it was necessary to save the US, the general consensus believes otherwise. The US constitution specifically addresses the definition of torture in the 1984 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
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Punishment. This declaration states that torture is, “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession” (Sontag, 2010). The definition states that neither physical nor mental torture is tolerated under the constitution in order to avoid and possible loopholes. The definition is thorough with a zero tolerance policy, and also states that there is no circumstance in which this declaration may be broken: “whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture” (Sontag, 2010). After the events on September 11 th , 2001 the perspective of what torture really is began to change. Soon the US was engaged in a “war on terror” creating prisons in other countries for people whom presumably held information vital to the US campaign. The US resorted to techniques of retrieving information in manners that seemed to violate the constitutional definition of torture. When images of these prisons and their abused prisoners were exposed to the public, there was an outcry of constitutional violations. In response to these complaints, the US government revealed the redefinition of torture that had been created in August of 2001. According to the
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2012 for the course WRT 105 taught by Professor Kleinbart during the Spring '07 term at Syracuse.

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Redefinition of Torture - Zach Schatz December 8, 2010 WRT...

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