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Pros and Cons of Torture

Since September 11, 2001, the issue of torture has been on the mind of the public with visceral disagreements as to how to handle terrorists. There are pros and cons to each side which will be discussed.


Typically speaking, but not always, the disagreement over torture falls among party lines of Republican and Democrat. During the Bush years soon after 9/11, most Republicans believed that torture was not acceptable except in the case of evil terrorists who had vital information, in which case they believed waterboarding was acceptable, as well as loud music and sleep deprivation. On the opposite side, many Democrats believed that under no circumstances should waterboarding ever be used. Therein lies the problem our country faces.

It is bad enough that our country is so divided, but when we have an enemy who hates us, it makes the issues of war and tortue even more dreadful to deal with. Whether we like it or not, al-Qaeda is not going away and there are countries and as well as groups of people who wish to do us harm. Let’s first look at the cons associated with torture:

  1. Don’t stoop to the terrorists level
  2. Torture is cruel and inhumane
  3. Follow the Geneva Conventions
  4. Torture is not an American value

There are many people who believe that limited torture in events where people hold valuable information and time is of the essence, that torture is valid if it saves lives. Here is a quick list of reasons that are listed as reasons why torture should be used:

  1. The rights of many outweigh the rights of a few
  2. Terrorists do not follow the Geneva Convention, so it is not fair to fight a war with our hands before our backs, with strict regulations for our boys when they can shoot the enemy, when terrorists never even give it a thought
  3. Torture stops attacks
  4. We won’t have a country to worry about if limited torture isn’t used, and the enemy can fight dirty



Both sides make valid points. It is difficult fighting an enemy in guerrilla warfare, where the enemy kills innocent men, women and children. The United States cannot understand that thought process. The word torture is used as a political weapon which brings so much division. I fall down on the side of limited torture, such as sleeplessness, listening to loud music and waterboarding those individuals who have information where we know a plot is in the works and can be prevented. The government stands by their figure that only  three people have been waterboarded, yet from viewing the news, one would believe that the United States uses it frequently.

With that said, we must remember as a nation the rights of the people, for loss of our rights and freedoms is not what this country was founded on. Is the discussion over on torture or will it re-emerge where we can have a civil discussion between people? Based on past experience, I am not hopeful.

Author: Suzanne S


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