In the article “The Truth about Torture”, Charles Krauthammer considers the ticking time bomb problem and argues that torture is sometimes not only morally permissible, but morally necessary.Krauthammer uses the example of terrorists in his example, what if we captured a terrorist with knowledge of an attack and the knowledge of future attacks; do we torture him for his information? Or simply just have him locked up? (Krauthammer 2).
Utilitarian considerations are sufficient to justify using cruel actions against terrorists to extract confessions.Even though is cruel to torture one to extract information, it is our duty as citizens to maintain the happiness as a whole and do what is necessary to save lives.Utilitarianism is a consequential normative moral theory, which state the moral value of an action is determined by the most happiness or utility it creates (Mill 461).
If we use this definition to analyze the case, then yes it is sufficient to use cruel actions such as waterboarding and sodium pentathol injections on terrorists to extract information.Waterboarding is a terrifying and deeply shocking torture technique in which the prisoner has his face exposed to water in a way that gives the feeling of drowning (Krauthammer 3). Sodium pentathol injection is a sedative drug; its purpose is to disinhibit the higher brain centres to make someone more likely to share their information (Krauthammer 3). In parts of Asia, torture is embedded in the criminal justice system (Wong 1).
So there is no concern as to why torture can’t be used in the example of the terrorist. By torturing the terrorist, we are able to extract information from him, thus doing what is morally right and save lives.Maintaining and creating happiness among the whole is more important just the happiness of a person. If that is the case then wouldn’t torturing the terrorist be the right thing to do? Torturing him would make the world a more peaceful place and also letting terrorists know that we are not scared of them and we’ll do whatever it takes to spoil their well-thought-out plans. Utilitarianism allows for violations of justice. This is one of those violations because we’re torturing for the good of humankind and fighting off evil at the same time.Some might argue torturing someone is morally wrong, even though is for a good cause.
The example of waterboarding and sodium pentathol injection is cruel and non-humane. This is because both these examples violate basic human rights. Injecting sodium pentathol into another human is usually against their own will, let alone extracting information from them without their consent. Utilitarianism holds that actions tend to help promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce unhappiness (Mill 462). In this case, wouldn’t we create unhappiness for the terrorist because he is suffering?Saving lives is one thing, but there must be better ways of extracting information than to torture another human. With regards to torture on the terrorist, is important to note that utilitarian maintain that each person’s happiness is to be weighted equally and that happiness is pleasure and the absence of pain (Mill 469). Torturing then would be the right thing to do because happiness out-weight unhappiness.
More people will be upset and devastated if a terrorist attack did happen and we choose not to torture the terrorist to extract information. If the terrorist attack did not go as planned, so what?The terrorist wouldn’t be devastated and be sad as much as we would have to deal with the death of innocent people. The terrorist will probably just think of a better plan and hope it’ll execute to perfection the next time. Is necessary to be cruel and torture a terrorist to get information, but on one condition, if happiness out-weight unhappiness. This is the case when we know lives can be saved by means of torture. Torture is cruel, with examples such as injections of sodium pentathol and waterboarding, but sometimes is needed to help do what’s best for humankind.Bibliography -Wong Kai-shing.
“The Problem of Torture in China’s Criminal Justice System” http://www. hrsolidarity. net/mainfile. php/2005vol15no05/2451/ – Krauthammer, Charles. “The Truth about Torture” http://www. weeklystandard. com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/400rhqav.
asp? page=3 -Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. In Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Fifth Edition. Eds JohnPerry, Michael Bratman and John Martin Fischer. New York, NY: Oxford University press, 2010. Pp. 457-476.