Debating Torture

Members of Amnesty International demonstrate against torture.

In December of 2012, Maher Arar wrote a piece for his online publication, Prism Magazine, entitled, “To torture, or not to torture?” An important excerpt is shown below, although I recommend reading the entire article to learn about how torture is normalized by various media organs (namely Hollywood, academia, and the U.S. mainstream news). Arar writes that the debate about torture ought not to focus on its utility, but on the notion that torture is categorically wrong:

The debate with respect to torture should not be about whether torture produces “sound” or “false” intelligence, or whether torture is “bad” or “good” depending on who is practising it: the debate should be about whether torture is moral or immoral.

It is about time our governments realise that torture inflicts moral damage on our society, as severe as the pain felt by the people who are physically and psychologically tortured. Our reputation has been stained and tarnished enough.

Lastly, torture is not the way to fight terror, or as wonderfully put in the words of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: “Torture can never be an instrument to fight terror, for torture is an instrument of terror.”  (emphasis added)


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