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Sample Thesis Paper on Favouring Use of Torture and Interrogation Techniques

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Sample Thesis Paper on Favouring Use of Torture and Interrogation Techniques


Without the enhanced interrogation techniques, can a suspected terrorist criminal confess to an undertaking that he has done, or any other impending attack? Torture is not the same as enhanced interrogation, but cutting between the lines to demarcate between excess torture or coaxing somebody to give certain information, or using the enhanced interrogative techniques to get the necessary information can sometimes be tricky and difficult. We all have to agree that most of the criminals and especially the terrorist take oath before executing their atrocities or are suicide bombers. This therefore indicates that if a plan thwarts, they may still be preparing to attack another place. Who knows where? When? How? These questions could only be answered if one suspect arrested is subjected to a situation that would lead to disclosure of material facts regarding the leaders, activities and events that the criminal group is planning to undertake. Taking an example of the September 11th, US bombing, can one still deny the use of enhanced interrogative techniques to get the intended information? There has been a constant conflict between human rights, justice and the logical view as to how interrogations ought to be carried out. But the question that remains unanswered by the justice and human rights is, “how can one use democracy to get information from a terrorist or a criminal who is under oath and may not fear death as an option? Should force not be used to get the scanty information that can be deduced so that the majority of the human race can be protected? It should be noted that, torture is not allowed in any circumstance, but exception criteria is and should be enhanced so that the criminals may be deterred from committing crimes. Following the US bombings, and the east African countries bombing of the US embassies, that led to the killing of many innocent citizens, there has been an increased acceptance of enhanced interrogation or torture from the public forum, since everybody now understands the impacts and effects that the criminals can bring on to the community. A moral question that requires critical thinking in regard to torturing is, “should a guilty person be made to suffer to give certain information, or should the innocent be condemned out of the criminal’s activities effects?” This being the case, this paper has been designed to advocate for the use of torture or enhanced interrogation techniques on criminals by highlighting the merits and demerits of both and by providing an evidenced based approach to the issue.

Why torture is necessary

By definition, the enhanced interrogation techniques have been referred by many as torture. Referring to article one of the torture convention, torture is any act by which pain and /or suffering is inflicted on a person with the aim of obtaining certain information or a confession. Torture may take various forms, including physical, emotional and mental pain infliction. Torture is and has mostly been used in event of terrorism and the former president George Bush used the principle and approved its use against the Al-Qaida, after the bombing of the US twin towers (Bush, 2007). Despite this fact, when the current president assumed office,  he abolished the laws that required the use of torture to get information, citing the violation of many treaties that the US had been party to that prohibited the use of force (Obama, 2009). This fact being true cannot be entirely accepted since it gives the criminals a leeway’s to conceal information when arrested since they won’t be coerced to provide the information.

One of the basic arguments favoring torture is the fact that whether morally wrong and unjustified, if the element of torture will lead to the confession of a criminal and therefore protect the innocent citizens from any attack that may be in the process of being committed, then it is justified. The notion of human rights may not apply in this case, since the acts being done by the criminal gangs are inconsiderate of any human consideration and therefore, reasonable force should be used to get the necessary information that may lead to the arrest of criminals. Failure to do this may only encourage the criminal group to continue with their activities with the notion that upon being arrested, they will deny any involvement in criminal activities and therefore leave the burden of proving to the investigation department. This would be passed on by time since some crimes may be in the process of being committed and therefore could lead to a disastrous situation upon execution of the acts. What this means is that if the criminal was forced to give information, and they do so, the information can be used by the responsible departments to warn the public or take precaution ally measures to prevent any eventuality of an attack. It may even lead to the arrest of the other criminal gangs who would be financing the terrorism or planning to attack a given place. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was a member of the al-Qaida is a good example of the effectiveness of torture or enhanced interrogation method. The FBI and the CIA identified the man as one of the terrorist and therefore were in pursuance of him as he was linked to committing in excess of eight terrorist activities between 1995 and 2002. The dragnets of the FBI and CIA caught him in 2003 where he was led to the torture chambers so that he could give certain information that the FBI seemed important and would help them in preventing some of the future attacks (Rajaee & Miller, 2012). True to the arrest, upon being coaxed to give information, he gave valuable information on the plots and leaders of the terrorist groups that was to be carried out in the US and other US friendly countries. If this torture was not used, it would have been impossible for the FBI to get the lead on how, when and where the terrorist group would be targeting next. .

In the contemporary society, it only imminent to apply the ticking bomb argument which stipulates that torture in all sorts of explanation and understanding is wrong, and unethical and therefore should not be practiced, there should be an exclusionary rule that should be in force to allow its execution in extreme situations (Allhoff, 2005). Suppose, for example a terrorist or a hard core criminal has been arrested and there is sufficient belief that the knowledge harbored by the criminal is capable or leading the interrogators into discovering a heap of detonators hidden somewhere. Or suppose the use of force upon such a person can help the investigators arrest a larger group of criminals who are in the most wanted list of criminals. In such a situation, it is only, logical that the approach should be used to its fullest. Doing so would only validate some theoretical approaches that entail safeguarding the lives of the innocent many, it would reduce the risk of a danger or catastrophe, and at the same time would help arrest a criminal who would help in exposing the hideouts of the others (Bufacchi, 2006). This statement follows that unless force is used in certain situations, democracy can never be attained. As indicated earlier, the notion that ought to be reinstated is the fact that unless it is under extreme conditions, torture should not lead to death and therefore should be encouraged to help a person give information that would help further investigation and arrest of criminals.

Methods of torture

It is also important to discuss the various torture methods that are available and their possible effect on the suspect. All in all, it should be noted that the torture imposed on terrorist do not amount to death (Costanzo, 2007). It is only in extreme cases that it does lead to death. This being the case, it should be encouraged in the system since it amounts to deterrence and prompts the criminals to talk. The use of torture was executed in the US as a result of an executive order, and one can only indicate that though the undertaking was not acceptable, it was carried out under secrecy but it came to leak in the public gallery later on. It was solely aimed at gaining imperative information and confessions from the suspects. One of the techniques used to torture the victims /suspects was the use of stress positions. This is the force that is used on the detainees to stay in a given uncomfortable position for a long time (Ruga. 2007). This may involve the suspect not being able to stand or pose, the body may even be suspended. With the hope of being set free upon giving the relevant information, the suspects may have given the information only to be used to achieve the interrogator’s objectives. This however must be understood that it may not yield the necessary result as the suspect may lie as a result of pain and may lead to false full confessions which in turn would lead to a wrong hypothesis. It follows that a suspect may lie and give false information so that they may be let loose or be taken to jail; an option which is better than the suffering.

At the same time, the criminal or the suspect may be subject to beating so that they may give the required information. Beating involves heavy blows and slaps as well as thumps. The pain caused may lead to a person /suspect giving vital information to the interrogators, since it is painful and irritating. A suspect may also be subjected to temperature manipulation in order to force them to give information. Exposing the suspect to extreme cold, while naked and manipulating the temperature of the environment may prompt the suspect to give information that may help in arresting certain facts. At the same time, the threat of harm either to the individual, their friends or family may lead to the spilling of required information from the suspect. It has to be noted that this form of threat takes place even today and it has proved to be a successful way of getting information from the suspected persons. It works with the assumption that the suspects love their families and friends and therefore, the love of these persons may lead to self-sacrifice, thereby concealing information that the investigators may be looking for.

Another way in which torture can be subjected to a person is through the use of sexual humiliations. Exploiting their religious and cultural stereotypes may force a person to give the required information for the fear of degrading oneself since it makes one feel powerless. Prolonged isolation may also include the sensory deprivation whereby the person is left in the dark for a long time, thus affecting the thinking and normal function of a person. Waterboarding, which is the most controversial technique employed entails the act of immobilizing a detainee on a board, covering them with absorbent material which, then water is poured or immersed over water, thus creating a notion that one is drowning (Wahlquist, 2009). This experience leads to suffocation, and may therefore prompt a detainee into giving credible information that may be used to get important information.

Alternatives to torture as proposed

One of the methods used in the contemporary society is the rapid fire technique which intends to confuse the detainee when making confessions. Under this method, several investigators ask multiple questions fast, thereby denying one the ability to think about the questions being answered. This may prompt the detainee to get confused thereby detecting lies. Another method that is used is the use of the repetition techniques whereby the investigators repeats several questions after they have been asked to check for consistency in the mode the detainee is answering the questions. The use of lie detectors is also employed to ascertain whether the suspect is lying or not. At the same time, the use of emotional love in investigations can also help in retracting the necessary information from the suspect. The promise that one will be released or be allowed to see the family may help the suspect change tactics and tell the truth. Emotional fear down occurs when the interrogator promises to protect the detainee upon providing the required information. File and dossiers techniques could also be used to inflict fear upon a suspect to give certain information.

Countering the alternatives proposed

All the remedies that have been proposed to replace the enhanced methods and torture cannot be applied on an international scale. They can therefore not be used to give imperative information as well as and confession on issues regarding national and international securities. One does not negotiate for peace with an impending killer, you coax the person to give the required information. Even though the current president of the US abolished all the laws that Bush had put in place on the executive orders, I doubt which terrorist would be willing and ready to give any imperative information on a silver Plata (Bush, 2007). It is misleading that terrorists can give information on comfort zones. The techniques that the military and the CIA employ in dealing with criminals are democratic and can only apply in local law enforcements. The international criminals are high tech and therefore are able to master all the techniques that the local law enforcement techniques are and therefore pass them without giving any positive information. It also has to be noted that the terrorists and the high rate criminals do not mind dying, and therefore employing democratic tactics may not deduce any information from them. Such measures, therefore, may only achieve national stability, but might not help in collecting the terrorist’s information or confessions.

Opposing torture

As in a football field, where there are opponents, or the faces of a coin, any debate like this one has both sides of the argument. Though the position taken from the beginning of this discussion is that of favoring the enhanced interrogation means, it is important to highlight briefly some of the points that have been brought forward by the opponent of torture. Whether legally, morally, or logically, it remains to be seen the effect of both approaches. Ever since the 3rd century, the Great Roman Jurist indicated that the information obtained from forceful confessions cannot at any time be trusted, since people are susceptible to pain and may therefore tell  lies instead of suffering (Costanzo & Gerrity, 2009). Information from the CIA who returned from Afghanistan indicated that the people were willing to confess to anything provided torturing was stopped. This information therefore indicates that torturing may lead to the wrong conclusion and if acted upon without further investigation may mislead the investigators. This fact does not mean that torture only leads to inaccurate information, not at all, it was indicated earlier that the arrest of Sheikh Mohammad in 2003 and the torture led to the disclosure of important information on the various plots that the terror group had planned. With torture, it is sometimes impossible to identify the true and false information. It was earlier said that the terrorists are highly intelligent people with their leaders being even more intelligent. They therefore do not disclose their information anyhowly, thus making it impossible for the interrogator’s to get the intended information once a member of the group is arrested.

At the same time, torture may lead to mental health problems to the tortured and the torturer. The increased use of the physical and psychological techniques may cause a long lasting issues, including the PTSD, drug abuse, among other problems. To be noted at this point is the fact that it is illegal and against the human right to subject any person to torture. This in itself opposes the spirit of torture as it amounts to human rights abuse and a violation of international laws that prohibits torture. This latter statement, though well formulated does not lead to a logical conclusion when handling certain people including the terrorists.  It follows   such an example like a terrorist group bombing a certain place, leaving a trail of death and destruction behind, promising to strike more, and here comes the lobby group calling for the respect of human rights upon the arrest of one or two members of the terror group who were part of the attack. It is illogical to use democracy, when the interest of the nation hangs in a balance.


Whether we like it or not, torture is still being enforced, though secretly by many nations to solicit information from terrorists. It may be morally and ethically wrong to torture a human being, but certain situations call for extreme measures. This being the case, the executive orders of the president or the approaches that can be employed to force a suspect give the relevant information, may justify the use of torture as a means of soliciting information. It has to be noted that torture in exclusion cases may be justified using the utilitarianism principle when the good of the public is at hand and the only option available is the use of force to get the required information. Of importance to note is that fact that torture can lead to the detainee giving force information, provided they are tortured no more. At the same time, it may amount to lies. Despite these facts, there are instances when torture brings the intended results. From the above discussion, claims and counter claims have been brought forth, but the justification for torture has been broadly brought out. It is only evident that the enemy has been in the system and therefore knows the operations of the local laws. This therefore explains why by playing by the rules, the enemy wins. Bush administrations techniques of allowing torture brought rise to improved national security and was economical as compared with the Obama’s democratic approach which is time consuming and weak approach to combating terrorism. There should be a general acceptance of the exclusion rule when it comes to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.  







Allhoff, F. (2005). A Defense of Torture. International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 19(2), 243-264.

Bufacchi, V. (2006). Torture, terrorism and the state: a refutation of the ticking-bomb argument. Journal of Applied Philsophy, 23(3), 355-373.

Bush, G. W. (2007, July 24). 2009 Executive Orders Signed by Barack Obama. National Archives and Records Administration. 

Costanzo, M. A., & Gerrity, E. (2009). The effects and effectiveness of using torture as an interrogation device: Using research to inform the policy debate. Social Issues and Policy Review, 3(1), 179-210.

Obama, B. (2009, January 27). 2009 Executive Orders Signed by Barack Obama. National Archives and Records Administration. 

Rajaee, B. M., & Miller, M. J. (2012). National security under the Obama administration. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wahlquist, J. A. (2009). Enhancing interrogation: Advancing a new agenda. ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA.


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