by Arianna Sarjoo
What is torture? A concept tied to abuse and infliction of pain; a blemish on the face of society; a disservice to humanity. Torturing another human being establishes a power dynamic at which you stand tall, trampling the other person and leaving them to drown in their embarrassment. Such maltreatment of a person lowers their value as a human being.
Torture is used to describe a varied spectrum of circumstances, ranging from daily nuisances to situations of immense torment. On a small-scale, “torture” is commonly used in the student community to describe anxiety-filled events, such as having to wait for a test result. Maybe the idea of having to power through a gathering of judgmental family members feels like psychological torture. However, outside of the large student community, the term “torture” upholds a greater and intolerable meaning.
The concept of torture, its connotations often softened by strategic euphemisms including “enhanced interrogation techniques” and “rendition, detention and interrogation program,” hold a gruesome list of unfavorable approaches. Most often, such techniques are used to collect valued pieces of information from suspected terrorists in . . .Examples of a few notorious torturing techniques include:
–waterboarding – a simulation of drowning by placing a cloth over the recipient’s face, and pouring water over the cloth to prevent breathing
–confinement – enclosing someone in a limited and uncomfortable space to restrict movement for long periods of time
–sleep deprivation – preventing sleep, often aided by the use of loud music, white noise, and stress positions which contribute to muscle fatigue and exhaustion
The techniques mentioned above as well as countless others are examples of occasions that slowly hack away at the mercy and compassion mankind claims to possess. Often times, the aforementioned methods are implemented as interrogational techniques, specifically with suspected terrorist activity. Such techniques are twisted tricks in a bag all sharing the common goal of breaking a person, and extracting every piece of information they are suspected of knowing. So the question that arises is, should such sickening tactics be employed?
This question faces controversy mainly because of how the pros and cons present themselves. Some may argue the use of extreme interrogation techniques are necessary when a suspect refuses to talk, and lives may be at stake. The result seemingly justifies the means of obtaining information, no matter how demeaning. However, through use of torture techniques, we are stripping humans of their basic rights and liberties. While intentions may be righteous at first glance, torturing for information is a slippery slope downward. An ethical line of higher expectation must be established to prevent lowering ourselves to dehumanizing creatures incapable of respect. At first, undignified means are justified by valuable information, but how many basic liberties will be taken away before we have gone too far?