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Torture Essay

torture essay

Example #1

Throughout chapter twelve of the book Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People it concentrates on the whole notion of victims and how torture can affect one’s self. In this chapter, the author John Conroy takes us through a series of events that happen from the cause of torture. To understand the notion of torture one must first understand what torture is, torture is when a person or group of persons inflict physical or mental pain and agony on another person or persons as a means of punishment or coercion.

The infliction s can range from being blindfolded and starved to being beat and killed. The worst thing for these victims is that they have zero control of what is happening to them and the fact that their lives are in the hands of the torturer. These surviving victims are not always fine after their experience; in fact, there are many that became ill. To prove this statement to be true there are a few good examples in this chapter.

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In this chapter Conroy talks about a survey done by Dr. Ole Vedel Rasmussen, this survey basically studied two hundred torture survivors who had been tortured by the African National Congress. Within his study, Dr. Rasmussen wanted to know at the point where the victims most frighten. It seemed as though it were in between torture sessions, for the victims, there is often no break, the mental anguish filling the void between sessions.

This shows how the victim becomes hopeless because things that are happening to him/her are out of their control and Conroy mentions the sense of unpredictability further undermines psychological stability (pg.170) basically meaning that the victim is becoming mentally disturbed. The Irena Martinez case was similar to the previous case to were as she felt she had no control over what was happening to her. She had been stripped and beat to the point to which she had just given up hope and wanted to die.

I believe everyone has a breaking point and once that is reached the mind can make you do things you probably would not have did in your normal state. Martinez said you don t have any rights, you don t have any voice, you are neither alive nor dead, you are desaparecido (pg.171) this relates back to having zero control. This turns the victim to take their hate and anger and turn it into positive compassion because they start to feel a dependency on their torturer. This also in our terms is called brown-nosing or sucking up so that the torturer will have some sympathy for them.

One of the things I find very peculiar was the fact that when some of the victims encountered their torturers they pretended as though nothing had happened and were rather nice to them. I know it that had been me personally in any of these situations I know for a fact that I would have probably killed them. Some torturers tried to make it seem as though they really did not enjoy what they were doing it was just part of the job.

I think these guys just felt a little guilty for their actions and they tried to convince their own selves that it was just part of the job. For example, there was a French torturer who knew of Algerians that had been tortured and after being released returned to establish friendships with their old torturers. I found this absurd, that you would even want to willingly see them again, these people were obviously brainwashed.

The Mnangagwa case was a little bizarre as well, why in the world would you promote two guys that use to abuse you? I do not believe in that statement kill them with love or kindness, especially in these terms. You can kind of relate this to women who get abused by their men and after a few beatings start to believe it was her fault and she deserved everything she got.

Mnangagwa became the man that zapped his manhood from him, he became powerful and he too became that demon that he always feared. In Conroy s book, he explains his logic behind this way of thinking. He said throughout history prisoners have survived by collaboration and conversion sometimes prisoners, facing torture take on the values and behavior of their captors and become torturers themselves (pg.174).

Being tortured does not only effect you physically but psychologically as well. Let look at World War 2 and the Holocaust for instance there were studies done on some of the people who survived being a POW or the concentration camps. These studies showed that those people had illnesses that stemmed from headaches to impaired concentration to fear and anxiety to depression.

Can abuse affect you mentally? Of course, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that, anytime you have stress in general you increase your chance of having some kind of psychological dysfunction. I know personally people who have been physically and mentally abusing and they crack. These are just normal everyday people in today s society, so I can imagine what those people were going through.

In conclusion, I feel that this chapter was good but it never taught me anything that I did not already know. Conroy explained how he thought torture was senseless, I don t condone torture but let’s face it the tactic works people eventually talk if not they will die. I would have to say in some cases those victims did control their own fate. If it comes down to me being killed or giving up information I m going to spill my guts.


Example #2 – Torture And Abuse To Children

As human beings, children are entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the various treaties that have developed from it. But children also need special protection and care.

They must be able to depend on the adult world to take care of them, to defend their rights, and to help them to develop and realize their potential. Yet, violence against children is endemic: each day, terrible abuses and acts of violence against children are committed worldwide. They suffer as many human rights abuses as adults, but may also be targeted simply because they are dependent and vulnerable.

The Fifth Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. Nevertheless, children are being tortured and mistreated by state officials; they are detained, lawfully, or arbitrarily, often in appalling conditions; in some countries, they are subjected to the death penalty. Countless thousands are killed or maimed in armed conflicts; many more have fled their homes to become refugees.

Children forced by poverty or abuse to live on the streets are sometimes detained, attacked, and even killed in the name of social cleansing. Many millions of children work at exploitative or hazardous jobs or are the victims of child trafficking and forced prostitution. Because children are “easy targets”, they are sometimes threatened, beaten, or raped in order to punish family members who are not so accessible. Amnesty International has been one of the organizations that have denounced this terrible situation in a new report published prior to Human Rights Day.

The report of Amnesty International shows that children who are victims of torture see themselves trapped in military and political conflict situations; that children who are suspicious of having committed criminal acts are exposed to undergo torture at the hands of State agents; that frequently children are detained in conditions that involve danger for their health and physical integrity; and that many children are exposed to receive blows or to undergo sexual abuses at the hands of the same adult that in theory must protect them.

There is also indicated that the torture and the bad treatments to the children are not only a social or cultural issue but a violation of human rights which the State has an obligation to come up with effective measures to prevent.

According to Amnesty International, a “child”, in most international legal standards, is anyone under the age of 18. Most of the world’s countries have also set the legal age of majority or adulthood at 18. The term “juvenile” also appears in human rights texts although it is not exactly interchangeable; it usually refers to those who are able to be charged and tried in the juvenile justice system.

Concepts that help define childhood, such as maturity and the age of criminal responsibility, rely largely on social and cultural factors. In some societies, childhood is a condition fixed by the condition of the child within the community rather than his or her age.

Those still under parental authority are regarded as children, no matter what their age, while those who have taken on adult roles and responsibilities are given social rights and duties accordingly. In much of the world, even small children have significant economic responsibilities: they have to work, either to support themselves or as part of the family economy, so there is little time left over for school or play.

“Humanity owes children the best it can give them. Children will enjoy special protection and will have opportunities and services, given by the law and other means so that they can develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially in a healthful and normal way, as well as in conditions of freedom and dignity… children must be protected against all form of abandonment, cruelty, and exploitation ” (Declaration of Children’s Rights).

Children are entitled to adult protection, but they are not adult property: children also have the right to make decisions on their own behalf according to their maturity. Children have the right to be heard and to have their own opinions on matters affecting them taken into account “in accordance with the age and maturity of the child” (Amnesty International, 2000). Very young children rely on others to express their views and protect their best interests; as they grow older, they become more able to speak for themselves and engage in decision making on their own behalf.

In many societies, even small children have significant economic responsibilities: they have to work, either to support themselves or as part of the family economy, so there is little time left over for school or play. A South African activist and educator have pointed out that the conception of the child as “an individual shorn of most obligations, economically dependent, politically uninvolved, emotionally and morally immature, and secure within and represented by a family”, fits the experiences of very few children in the world (Amnesty International, 2000).

Yet those children who are forced to bear the financial burden and emotional responsibilities of adulthood are at even greater risk of abuse precisely because they are not perceived as children. It is probably not recognized that they are still emotionally and physically immature, and so in need of the additional safeguards and protections provided by the relevant legal standards (Reynolds, 1998).

Worldwide abuse against children

Torture and mistreatment are prohibited by international human rights and humanitarian law, and almost all national law. But children are entitled to even higher levels of protection; international standards guarantee children protection from all forms of violence, whatever the reason, whoever the perpetrator. Article 19 of the Children’s Convention obliges States parties to protect children from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child” (Amnesty International, 2000).

Nevertheless, the abuse of the children continues being the world’s secret shame, a daily reality ignored by many governments. Anywhere in the world, we see the same general pattern of abuses: there hardly exist any differences between the police treatment that receive children in China and Brazil, or between their conditions of imprisonment in Paraguay or Russia, and the violence against children in armed conflicts is as devastating in Sierra Leona as in Afghanistan.

According to Amnesty International on the occasion of the celebration in November of 2000 of the tenth anniversary of the Convention of the UN on Children’s Rights, governments worldwide are failing to fulfill his obligation to protect children from abuses against human rights. The abuses that the children suffer go from torture and bad treatments from the hands of the police to the homicides in the hands of their own families; from the traffic of children to the captive work; from unavoidable prostitution to performing work in places where they are exploded; from the use of the children as soldiers to the executions of minors.

The list of abuses that children undergo is interminable, although almost all countries except the United States and Somalia have ratified the Convention on Children’s Rights; also, most of the countries have ratified other international treaties like the Convention against Torture.


I. Armed Conflicts

War is a daily reality for a million of children. Fourteen million children have become refugees or internally displaced within their own country as a result of the conflicts for which they are not responsible. It is calculated that more than a third of the victims of the modern wars are young (Amnesty International, 2000).

a) Torture and mutilation during war

Children are especially exposed to undergo abuses in situations of armed conflict. Many are tortured solely because they live in enemy territory, for their family’s political or religious ideas, or for their ethnic origin. During the nine years of civil war in Sierra Leona, children have undergone abuses on a scale without precedents: thousands of them have been victims of homicide or mutilations, kidnapped and forced to fight, or raped and put under sexual slavery. To this, we must add the fact that children who have lived an armed conflict usually are traumatized by the death and destruction they have witnessed.

In some cases, perpetrators are paramilitary forces linked to government soldiers. In Colombia, 17-year-old Elena Morales Souto was dragged from her home on 20 July 1997 by a group of heavily armed men, who allegedly identified themselves as paramilitaries from Abrego and Oca. A short distance from her house, she was beaten and threatened with having her throat cut if she did not disclose the whereabouts of her husband, Hugo Uma, and her father, Luis Morales Perez. The girl allegedly recognized one of her aggressors at the military barracks of the Santander Battalion on 23 July.

Other members of her family, including nine children, were allegedly tortured physically and psychologically at their homes by paramilitaries. Before withdrawing, the paramilitaries told the family that they would come back and kill them all, down to the smallest child if they ever found Luis Morales Perez or Hugo Uma there.

b) Children as soldiers

At the present time, there are more than 300.000 minors younger than 18 years fighting in armed conflicts in more than 30 countries worldwide. In the United Kingdom, there are more than 9.000 minors younger than 18 in the Armed Forces. Children are especially vulnerable to threatening practices bad treatments from their supervisors or their companions.

Many children are forced to join the army by means of intimidation; others are kidnapped by the Armed Forces and others join voluntarily because they look for food and refuge. The mortality rate among children at war is usually high because of their lack of experience and formation and the fear they feel during the process.

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Child soldiers are at risk of being tortured by the enemy if caught, and by their own forces as a form of discipline or training. Children are often treated brutally and punishments for mistakes or desertion are severe; children are injured and sometimes killed during harsh training regimes.

Although both boys and girls are used as fighters, girls are at particular risk of rape, sexual harassment, and abuse. The severe psychological consequences of active participation in hostilities, with children both witnessing and committing atrocities, may only become apparent over a long period.

These psychological effects on these children are immeasurable: many have killed, mutilated, or raped and all have witnessed such atrocities. During the incursion into Freetown by the RUF and AFRC forces in January 1999 — when at least 2,000 civilians were killed, more than 500 people had limbs severed, and the rape of girls and women was systematic — it was estimated that children comprised some 10 percent of the fighters.

During the first few weeks after they are disarmed and demobilized, former child combatants are often reported to be aggressive and violent, to show other behavioral problems, to suffer nightmares, alienation, outbursts of anger, and an inability to interact socially.

The problem of child soldiers is by no means confined to Africa or to armed opposition groups. In the UK, for instance, there are more than 9,000 under-18s in the armed forces. The power and hierarchy relationships on which the armed forces are based make children especially vulnerable to ill-treatment.

In August 1997, a 17-year-old girl recruit was forced to perform a sex act and was raped by a drunken instructor while she was on maneuvers. Other incidents have included bullying, beatings, and sexual abuse. The USA also allows under-18s to be recruited, and only agreed in January 2000 to ban the deployment of child soldiers in combat.

c) Children as refugees

Armed conflict has also forced millions of children around the world to flee their homes in search of refuge. Sometimes they go with their families, sometimes alone; many get separated on the way. In Africa alone, the conflict has forced more than 20 million people from their homes. About five million are refugees who have found asylum in a neighboring country; many more — an estimated 16 million — are internally displaced persons (IDPs) within their own country.

Russian forces have been detaining people at checkpoints and in the territories under their control; often while carrying out identity checks on civilian convoys fleeing to Ingushetia. Witnesses say that children as young as 10 have been detained on suspicion of belonging to armed Chechen groups.

The detainees are sent to “filtration” centers where they are held without access to their relatives, lawyers, or the outside world. The testimonies of the survivors confirm that the men, women, and children held in these camps are routinely and systematically tortured: they are variously beaten with hammers and clubs, tortured with electric shocks and tear gas, and raped.

II. Children Under Police Custody

In March of 1997, three children between the ages of 10 and 12 were detained when they gathered pieces of metal in a wastebasket in Istambul, Turkey. After accusing them of robbing a tape recorder, agents took them to the police station, where they kept them locked without communication for thirty-two hours. According to the children, they undressed them, leaving them in their underclothes, and they locked them up in a toilet, where the police officers urinated on them and forced them to lie down on human excrement (Amnesty International, 2000).

Institutionalized children and young people are victims of police force abuse, illegal halting at police stations, violations, and tortures within the institutions allegedly called protective. The power and the authority are enforced in these institutions in a violent and arbitrary form, using physical punishment, denying food and through the conditions of inhabitable old, anti-functional establishments without water or electricity (ONG, 1995).

Minors under police custody are particularly exposed to rape violations and sexual abuse from the police as well as from other prisoners. Police officers are responsible for most documented cases of torture; the most common and rapidly increasing form of torture against children is probably the beating of criminal suspects and in police custody. Beatings can be severe, and even deadly. Children have been struck with fists, sticks, chair legs, gun-butts, whips, iron pipes, and electrical cords. They have suffered bruises, concussion, internal bleeding, broken bones, lost teeth, and ruptured organs.

Children detained by the police have also been sexually assaulted; burned with cigarettes or electricity; exposed to extremes of heat and cold; deprived of food, drink or sleep; or made to stand, sit or hang for long hours in awkward positions. Yet accusations of torture or ill-treatment against law enforcement officials are seldom thoroughly investigated, and even those cases that are prosecuted rarely result in a conviction.

Torture often occurs when the police first apprehend their victim: the abuse may start on the street, in the police car, or under interrogation in police cells. Children are often held without their parents being informed of their whereabouts. This is significant because where children are held without access to relatives or legal counsel, the risk of physical abuse increases dramatically.

Police officers who are not given adequate training or resources are likely to rely on torture as a method of investigation; in some countries, the police are encouraged to use coercive methods against criminal suspects in response to high levels of crime. In some cases, the purpose is to extract information, or to obtain a “confession”, true or false. In others, punishment and humiliation appear to be the primary aim.

In many countries, the treatment received by minors detained in juvenile centers seriously endangers their health and well-being. In the United States, there have been complaints stating that the juvenile center’s staff has hit and kicked children under their care, have chained them, they have sprinkled them with chemical products, and have used electroshock devices against them.

For example, an investigation carried out by the Department of Justice in Kentucky concluded that the civil employees of a juvenile center regularly used paralyzing electroshock guns and pepper sprayers to control youngsters who did not collaborate and to separate those who fought. Children detained in that center also denounced that the city staff often struck them.

Children in custody, both girls and boys, are also vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse. Even the threat of rape — sometimes repeated night after night, while the child sits alone in a dark cell — can cause severe psychological trauma amounting to torture. Rape or sexual abuse, like other forms of torture, may be used to intimidate or humiliate the victim, by demonstrating the absolute power of the torturer over his victim. Rape in custody is not an act of private violence, but a form of torture, for which the state bears responsibility.

The consequences of rape are devastating. Girls who have been raped may be deemed unfit for marriage, which can mean a lifetime of exclusion from social acceptance and economic security. Boys may be labeled weak or unmanly, which could permanently damage their status in their community. Both face the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and girls may become pregnant as a result of rape.

It is also necessary to point out the degrading conditions that undergo children of the streets; many of them work like traveling salesmen, opening doors of taxis, or similar jobs because of their family’s financial needs, and are exploited by adults who take advantage of the extreme poverty situation and deficiencies of these youngsters (ONG, 1995).

Children forced to live on the streets are particularly vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment. Many survive on begging, petty crime, or prostitution, activities which bring them regularly to the attention of the police. Some are detained and ill-treated simply because they are easy prey; others are arrested under laws that make destitution, vagrancy and begging criminal offenses.

Many are victims of torture and abuse, and sometimes murder, by police and other authorities. Amnesty International has documented violence against street children in many countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Nepal, and Uganda. What these attacks have in common is the almost complete impunity enjoyed by those who perpetrate them (Amnesty International, 2000).

III. Children in Detention

The detention of children ranks low on the list of criminal justice priorities in most countries, so financial resources and government support for improving conditions tend to be limited. Staffing problems are rife, with severe understaffing, lack of training, and low pay a feature of juvenile institutions in most parts of the world. Children are often detained under conditions that pose a serious threat to their health and safety. Juvenile detention centers are often housed in old and disused adult facilities, with poor heat, light, and ventilation; many have no educational or

recreational facilities. Conditions are often unsanitary, leaving inmates exposed to disease and other health problems, which can be exacerbated by the often severe overcrowding. Custodial institutions for children seldom have appropriate medical facilities, staff, or supplies. In some cases, a lack of nourishing food results in malnutrition and, in extreme cases, starvation. Many child detainees are dependent on family members to bring their meals, others have to pay or bribe the authorities just to get adequate and decent food.

Over the years, there has been a steady stream of allegations about physical punishments amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; including boys being kicked, beaten, suspended upside down, having plastic bags put over their heads, being beaten on the back with a hammer or having their hands and feet scalded. Some reported being denied food, drink, or access to toilets — sometimes for several days.

In the USA, children have been held in cruel conditions in overcrowded facilities, where they have also been deprived of adequate mental health care, education, and rehabilitation programs. Some have been subjected to brutal force and cruel punishments, including shackles, chemical sprays, and electro-shock devices. Solitary confinement is also a common punishment in juvenile facilities in the USA, in violation of international standards. In March 2000, the US Justice

Department sought an emergency court order to stop ill-treatment of children at the Jena Juvenile Justice Center in Louisiana. Children held there were routinely subjected to excessive force and prolonged isolation, and deprived of shoes, blankets, and medical care. Chemical agents were also abused. In November 1999 a CS gas grenade, designed for outdoor use, was used in a dormitory containing 46 children.

The children fled outside where they were made to lie face down on concrete, some only in their underwear, for hours. Several were allegedly sprayed in the face with mace while on the ground. The memorandum in support of the injunction noted that “penal officers at Jena have rubbed inmates’ faces into cement floors, taken away clothing, slammed youths against doors, walls, and floors, and forced naked juveniles to squat with their buttocks in the air while searches are performed … evidence exists showing officers actually have encouraged peer violence.”

The situations mentioned above also apply to other institutions such as orphanages and refugee centers that in addition can be vulnerable to a great deal of exploitation by being used as subjects in drug experimentation and undergo cruelty, negligence, confinements, and corporal punishment.


Example #3

Hart Crane was a poetic genius who was driven and hampered, by his self-destructive personality. His alcoholism, sexual excesses, and volatile behavior gave him the illusion of personal stability and lead to his greatest poems, but also brought his tragic doom. Crane s poems, though not always autobiographical, can be understood by looking at the occurrences in his turbulent life.

Crane acted as his own worst enemy. The feeling, mood, style, and form of Crane s poems mirrored his many mood swings. While his moods were ever-changing, the central issue of his career always remained the composition of his novel-length poem, “The Bridge.”

Hart Crane s poetry rarely documented his biography, but his poems can be best understood by examining the events of his life. “Crane was a confirmed drunkard, suffering attacks of delirium tremens irritable, depressed, unhappy and unable to sleep” (Thompson, 18). His poems don t chronicle these events, but his poetry reflects a tortured being who was a victim of his own personality, history, and lifestyle. Crane lived a frightening childhood.

His mother was monstrous, his father callous, and together they were horrendous. These family troubles affected his mindset from his childhood on and possibly triggered his whole emotional imbalance. He received great disapproval and was ousted by his father because he chose poetry over the business. Crane never had a closeness with his parents.

His “new thresholds, new anatomies” (Crane, 25), revealed by alcohol, along with his apartment with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, all shaped the themes and styles of poems. He found fantastic sights and sounds agitated by drinking. This understanding of his life provides an understanding of where Crane s topics, themes, and feelings of poems originated.

His view of the Brooklyn Bridge inspired him to write a novel-length collection of poems that immortalized this structure. Gazing at the bridge, a modern wonder of engineering across the East River in New York provided a bit of comfort in Crane s roller-coaster life. His poems almost never showed or described his sexual promiscuity, alcoholism, or other kinds of amoral behavior. Crane celebrated the modern world and presented the positive values of American history in his poetry.

Throughout his life, Crane was his own worst enemy. Crane often spoiled the good intentions of the people who tried to help him. He found influential friends ” who were ready to accept him as he was, to tolerate his enormous self-esteem, to sing his praises even more loudly then he himself sang them, to beat patiently his antics and eccentricities” (Weber, 296). When he was jobless, his friends turned heaven and earth to find him work. Unfortunately, one after another, Crane could not or would not hold onto his friends.

He often insulted them and shrugged off their pleasantries. He was also beset by bad judgment. He was a heavy drinker and made poor choices in personal relationships. Crane never tried to solve his alcohol problem and despite powerful dangers, he would constantly venture to the waterfronts in search of sailors. He was often jailed, beaten, or robbed during these episodes of drunkenness and homosexual soliciting. His health was wasted and his hair was gray before he was 30.

Hart Crane threw away many opportunities. Although he dropped out of high school, he had the chance to enter Columbia University. He hired a tutor to prepare him for entrance into Columbia, but he did not like the discipline and abandoned the whole idea. After receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1931, he became more widely known and received recognition and praise for his poems. Instead of using the award to advance himself, Crane jumped from the deck of a cruise ship returning from Mexico, killing himself in 1932.

Writing the novel-length poem “The Bridge” took Crane seven years (1923-1930) and became the focus of his life and career. Crane s personal problems and travails proved to be time-consuming hurdles as he wrote “The Bridge.” He was distracted by his periods of depression, alcoholism, and other personal sufferings. Despite everything, “The Bridge” showed Crane to be a resolved and driven writer, able to rethink and revise his work.

This poem shows that Crane could work toward goals and achieve what he wanted. He never forgot his desire to become a well-respected poet. He wrote the verses of “The Bridge” with simplicity and directness, explaining his feeling to what was at the time, an unprepared world. Some critics call “The Bridge” brilliant, his greatest achievement. Others label “The Bridge” as the best literary work of Crane s generation. “The Bridge” has ” deft explication and lights up with stunning verbal surprises ” (Unterecker, 658).

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But others look at “The Bridge” as a ” composite of salvaged fragments, whirling rhetoric and powerful hallucinatory phrases, a flawed semi-epic ” (Parkinson, 128). Crane s peers saw “The Bridge” as structurally incoherent and loosely emotional. Whether observed as a masterpiece or a flawed work, “The Bridge” undeniably makes profound statements about the modern industrialized world and the urbanized world.

Crane s poems reflected his many mood swings. During his lucid and happy periods, Crane exhibited poetic genius. He showed his audiences a rare lyric sense. Crane came up with stunning bolts of poetic illumination. But when Crane entered his tortured periods, his poetry suffered, becoming dense and enigmatic. The stanzas and verses became obscure, overblown, even silly and ” at times almost incomprehensible.” (Brunner, 164)

His despondency can be seen in “At Melville s Tomb,” as he wrote “a scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph.” (Mariani, 79) During the healthy periods of his life, Crane finally completed “The Bridge” and other longtime works. While vacationing with clearer thoughts than usual, Crane wrote “The Broken Tower.”

During a wave of “drinking, writing, making love, and enjoying himself” (Sherman, 246), Crane s created one of his most strictly controlled, most flawlessly rhymed and most impassioned poems: The bells, I say, the bells break down their tower; And swing I know not where. Their tongues engrave Membrane through marrow, my long-scattered score Of broken intervals … And I, their sexton slave! (Crane, 156) When his head was clear, Crane could push forward and easily see his goals.

Hart Crane was one of his time s greatest poets. His lack of self-control lifted his poems with a unique style but also weighed down his career. Hart Crane s volatile personality gave life to several remarkable poems, including “The Bridge,” but also took his very life in the end.


Example #4

Torture remains one of the most controversial issues yet to be solved. The contemporary world is pursuing principles of democracy and tolerance. All countries propagate such ideas. Ironically, at the same time, torture is still an indispensable part of many people’s lives in both the developing and developed world (Davis, 2005).

It is important to note that people in developed countries still resort to torture even though they may share democratic values. Moreover, certain ethical theories may justify torture. Nonetheless, the arguments provided are quite inconsistent. Therefore, it is time to make it perfectly clear that torture has no right to exist in the USA which is considered to be an exemplary democratic state.

Torture violates basic human rights and is against the law of nature. People have no right to torture other people even in the name of the overall good. It is important to define torture as an immoral practice that should be eliminated as justification or even silent tolerance of torture can have global implications.

In the first place, it is necessary to define the word to void any misinterpretation. According to the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” which was adopted in 1984, torture is any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or third person information or a confession. (Davis, 2005, p. 163)

Now it is possible to take a closer look at instances of torture in American society. For instance, torture was a police ethics issue and it was referred to as “the Dirty Harry Problem” (as cited in Davis, 2005, p. 161). The problem was named after a “bad” police officer in the 1971 film. In the film, the police officer named Harry tortured a criminal who kidnapped and killed a girl. In the 1970s, people tried to understand whether torture could be justified. Though, the problem remained in the terrain of police ethics.

However, recent events show that the issue has broader implications and it should be considered thoroughly. Davis (2005) provides an example of 2002 news concerning American soldiers who tortured prisoners and combatants in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and Iraq. The researcher notes that the government never provided a clear explanation of the events and their position on the possibility of resorting to torture.

On the one hand, the government “publicly condemned “torture” and blamed the well-documented instances on “a few bad apples” (poorly trained guards, rogue intelligence officers, and so on)” (Davis, 2005, p. 162). On the other hand, the government reported about new ways of interrogating prisoners and combatants, though they did not specify what exactly was meant by those new ways. Therefore, it becomes obvious that torture is still present in US society.

Though it is officially condemned, it is justified in a variety of cases. There are still two camps in American society. Some claim that torture cannot be justified and should be eliminated, while others stress that there are cases when torture is inevitable for the good of many.

Followers of such ethical theories as Deontological ethical theory or Natural Law condemn torture and claim that it cannot exist in human society. For instance, in terms of Deontological ethical theory torture is an unacceptable practice as it cannot become the so-called universal law.

According to Deontologists, torture “violates fundamental principles of humanity” (Bellamy, 2006). If torture can be applied to combatants, terrorists, prisoners, or inmates, it becomes applicable in other situations and settings. In that case, torture in everyday settings should also be justified and any misdeed can lead to violence. Admittedly, violence leads to more violence. Clearly, torture is an inappropriate and immoral practice that cannot exist in human society.

As for the ethical theory of Natural Law, it also condemns torture which is unnatural (Banks, 2008). Again, it is stressed that torture violates the major principles of humanness. There is no torture in the wild. Animals do not torture each other. Since a human is a part of the world of animals, torture cannot exist in the world of humans either (Banks, 2008). No individual can feel he/she has the right to cause pain and suffering to another person.

However, there is an ethical theory that justifies torture. Arguments justifying torture can be found within Teleological ethical theory. Thus, proponents of this ethical approach claim that the consequences of the act define whether the act is rightful or wrongful. Thus, if torture is a tool that can make combatants or terrorists reveal important information that can save people’s lives, the tool can be used.

Sufferings of an individual can be justified if they will lead to the good of many. Of course, it is not articulated but it is still an important factor to be mentioned that combatants and terrorists are regarded as hostile aliens and enemies, which makes their sufferings less significant for proponents of the approach.

Nonetheless, opponents of this approach argue that the sufferings of a close person or people’s personal sufferings would be seen differently (Banks, 2008). More so, the effectiveness of the tool has not been proved as people often say anything to stop their torturers (Bellamy, 2006). Furthermore, there are certain pharmacological tools that can make people tell the truth. Therefore, the act of causing a person pain is not anymore an inevitable act of mercy to other people, but a simple sadistic act.

Admittedly, nothing can justify torture as no human being can cause suffering (physical or mental) to another human being. This is a violation of basic human rights. All people are equal and no one can have the right to do wrong to another individual. Importantly, victims are not the only affected people.

Torture leads to a certain corruption of the very human nature as people causing pain to other people will inevitably lose major human characteristics. People causing suffering are likely to become cruel and violent. They can soon lose the sense of reality as it is unnatural to see (and cause) pain. This is also inhumane to make people cause suffering to another person, and, in this way, lose major human characteristics.

It is important to note that the issue has to be solved as soon as possible as the contemporary world needs clearly cut values. Globalization is one of the major reasons why torture should be eliminated as ideas, values, and practices spread all over the world and people should focus on propagating real values and rightful practices.

Supposedly, torture remains an acceptable practice in the developed world. Globalization will contribute to the spread of such practices. Countries, where torture was condemned, can reconsider attitude toward this practice. Torture as a tool to cause pain to a restricted number of people to save thousands and millions will soon turn into a common practice applicable in all spheres of people’s life.

More so, this will have another implication on the global scale. The system of people’s values can become corrupted. People will reconsider values, which can lead to a distorted understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Justification of torture will inevitably lead to the justification for any kind of violence. The entire basis of humanity can be reconsidered. Of course, this scenario is highly unlikely to happen as in the majority of countries people condemn torture of any kind.

On balance, it is necessary to note that the ethical issue concerning torture is to be solved in the nearest future as a justification of torture can corrupt major human characteristics. This issue has been considered throughout centuries and there are a number of theoretical approaches to solve the issue. There is even at least one ethical theory that justifies torture. Thus, followers of Teleological ethical theory claim that the suffering of an individual can be justified if many can be saved.

Nonetheless, it is important to remember that no reason can be sufficient to justify torture as it violates basic human rights. Not only the victim’s rights are violated, but the torturer’s basic right to live in accordance with certain (societal or personal) moral conventions is also violated. Justification of torture will inevitably have a number of implications globally.

It can lead to the corruption of the major human values as well as the corruption of the very nature of humanity. Of course, no society can afford such kind of corruption in the contemporary globalized world as the world is becoming small, and major human values start playing paramount importance since these values help people cooperate and develop.


Example #5

Torture is defined as the intentional use of physical or physiological pain to gain an advantage over an individual. Torture has been around since the times of Ancient Greece and is still around today. Punishments aren’t near as harsh as they used to be back in medieval times.  The only punishments we have now are jails, the punishments there were in medieval times were numerous and downright inhuman.

Torture would keep criminals from doing something wrong again, assuming he lived through the torture. The punishments we have today are laughable and dumb. Medieval torture was a good way to extract a confession, obtain information, and intimidate others into co-operating and or confessing. The methods of torture involved cruel devices that were not only intended to inflict extreme pain but also permanently disable the victim.

Witches and condemned prisoners usually took the fall of the crime to escape any method of torture. During the time of the middle ages, torture was proven the most effective way to extract a confession from convicted prisoners. In many ways, the church was also seen as one of the founders of torture in the Spanish inquisition.

Torture has been considered an art form in some countries. Victor Hugo once said, “The guillotine is the ultimate expression of law, and its name is vengeance.” The executioner, in the theater of the guillotine, has a very special role. He is the first one to walk on stage and the last one to walk off. The executioner is the only permanent member after he and the victim and their short uneasy relationship as he releases the rope.

The guillotine was one of the most popular spectacles for the people in the middle ages. The decapitation of the enemies of the people was used as a celebration. The tools used for torture range from completely pointless and humorous to flat out excruciating.


Example #6

Torture, as defined by Dr. Maureen Ramsay, is described as an act by which severe pain or suffering whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or third party information or confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed, or is suspected of committing, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for a reason based on discrimination of any kind, whether such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

In this essay, I will argue for an absolute ban on torture, and that torture should not be allowed in any circumstances, including the ticking time bomb scenario. To do this I will compare arguments and information found in the following articles: Why understanding the threat Terrorism responding to the challenge Works written by Alan M. Dershowitz, Can the torture of terrorist suspects be justified written by Dr. Maureen Ramsay, Revenge Versus Rapport; Interrogation, Terrorism, and Torture written by Laurence Alison and Emily Alison and The Unending Torture of Omar Khadr written by Jeff Tietz to the movie Unthinkable.

The plot of the movie unthinkable is basically the ticking time bomb scenario. Steven Younger is an ex-military man with expertise in bombmaking, assault-rifle marksmanship, combat tactics, and training in case he became a prisoner of war. He arrested for the suspected murder of a police officer, detained in an unknown location, and then tortured for information on nuclear bombs that he had supposedly hidden in three locations around the United States.

The bombs are set to go off in three days, so the interrogation methods increasingly intensify until the man hired to do the torturing/ interrogating needs to do the unthinkable in order to receive the information that will save thousands of innocent people. Right away while watching this movie I noticed similarities of a suspected torture case that was fairly recently in the news in Canada. Omar Khadr was a Canadian citizen born in Toronto.

Khadr’s father trained him in bombmaking, assault-rifle marksmanship, combat tactics, then at the age of fifteen Khadr was arrested for the suspected killing of a U. S Sargent, detained in Guantanamo Bay and tortured for information on Osama Bin Laden and the suspected terrorist attacks. The case of Omar Khadr is eerily similar, and yet the current prime minister deemed his situation a violation of human rights, and Khadr was given a 10. 5-million-dollar settlement.

In the movie unthinkable you see Agent Brody come in and tell Military General Paulsen, the man seemingly in charge, that the military has no authority on home soil and they are unlawfully detaining an American citizen. General Paulsen replies that under the defense authorization act and as an enemy combatant under the military commission act as well as the Geneva convention laws, Younger is stripped of his American citizenship and because he is not an American citizen he can be put through what he called enhanced interrogation under the president’s orders.

Then “H” comes in to do the enhanced interrogation or torturing and almost immediately General Paulsen passes charge to Colonel Kermeniann showing that he did not want to take responsibility for what was about to happen, you also then see an officer remove his name tag to keep his identity hidden. Omar Khadr was also stripped of his citizenship due to him being in violation of the Geneva convention also allowing the United States military to interrogate him as an adult/ terrorist, using “enhanced interrogation methods.

These rules allowing basically anything to happen under the rule of the president is exactly why Alan Dershowitz argues the need for some sort of legal policies to be set in, in situations similar to these. Dershowitz states there are three ways to look at the issue of torture. The first is “ to allow the security service to continue to fight its war against terrorism in “`a twilight zone’ which is outside the realm of law” he thinks that people are getting tortured despite it being against human rights already.

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The second is “the way of the hypocrites: they declare that they abide by the rule of law, but turn a blind eye to what goes on beneath the surface “ they pretend like nothing is happening with no accountability, records, standards, or limits; and the third “the truthful road of the rule of law, ” namely, that the “law itself must ensure a proper framework for the activity of the security agency responsible for counterterrorism. Dershowitz suggests a formal warrant for non-lethal torture obtained only by a judge for torture such as a sterilized needle under the person’s fingernails where there is no serious lasting damage.

He then goes on to say that there is also, of course, a fourth option: namely to forgo any torture let the terrorist acts to occur. Dr. Maureen Ramsay counters his ideas by stating all three of his original arguments are flawed, and that making a judge make the final rulings just offloads the moral reasonability to someone else again. Ramsay argues that “History shows that torture is never limited. . .

As soon as its use is permitted once, as for example, in one of the extreme circumstances like a bomb, it is logical to use it on people who might place bombs, or on people who might think of placing bombs, or on people who defend the kind of person who might think of placing bombs” it is a very slippery slope and she argues that it is a very un-reliable method of obtaining truthful information.

An example of false information from the movie is when Younger needs a break from being tortured he gives a fake location of a bomb or when he breaks down in tears states there are no bombs, I lied and to please stop hurting me. This is similar to the Khadr case as he was tortured until confessed to killing the Sargent even when there were witnesses that say that he couldn’t have possibly been the one who did that.

Another point against making torture part of our legal frameworks is what happens to the tortured inmate after you get information true or false out of the person. Dershowitz argues there is no lasting physical trauma, but what about psychological or emotional trauma Emily and Laurence Alison explain that when the brain is under that much stress it impairs the ability to recall information damaging the reliability of even so-called truthful recollections and with impaired recollection, it impairs all communication and creates significant lasting trauma in form of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, psychosis and learned helplessness, along with a blood lust for revenge and a lasting us vs them mentality.

Do we just set free a vengeful, psychosis ridden person into a society that they feel they don’t belong to? In the movie, Younger is released because they can’t prosecute someone without fingernails, he then proceeds to shoot his self in the head showing depression, psychosis, and learned helplessness, in real life Omar received a settlement of just about eleven million dollars is living in Edmonton and has had Dr. Eric Trupin, a mental health specialist report “he has a significant risk for future psychiatric deterioration, which may include irreversible psychiatric symptoms and disorders, such as psychosis with treatment-resistant hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and persistent self-harming attempts. ”

Alison argues that “knowing that torture does not work is not enough to stop the notion that it is better than nothing. To do that, you must present an alternative that works”. So then what works? Neuroscience and psychology have proven time and time again that when interrogators “placed a high value on the capacity to relate, social and religious tolerance, flexibility, empathy, situational awareness, and cultural knowledge” the interrogee was more likely to talk, it enhances cooperation and elicits more accurate information.

In conclusion, torture of the ticking time bomb terrorist, Omar Khadr, and many other citizens have been unnecessarily tortured into false confessions. If any legal framework on torture is to take place, it should be a total ban. The question is not of two evils as Dershowitz argues but one of humanity and torture.


Example #7 – An Argument for and Against the Use of Torture on Suspected Terrorist

Torture is an insidious practice and has been defined as an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining information or a confession. U.S courts have consistently condemned the use of torture by government authorities to gain information from criminal suspects because it violates due process of law. The use of torture to extract information from terrorists who are suspected of having valuable knowledge regarding future attacks has been a constant intense debate. Although torture is illegal, it can however be preventing greater evil.

Torture is illegal under both the United States Constitution and under international law, however, many officials believe it is considered an effective method for gathering knowledge or crucial information. The policy of whether or not to torture suspected terrorists should be assessed according to whether it is in the public’s best interest. The U.S does exercise the use of torture on terrorists or anyone suspected to be a terrorist.

The U.S is a part of CAT, which is a convention against torture program that ensures that all acts of torture are offenses under criminal law, however, the U.S has found ways around this and the Geneva Convention. The U.S will send suspected terrorists to other countries and have them tortured there, or claim they are not using torture; it is rather an intense interrogation practice. I do not agree that suspected terrorists should be tortured.

Counter Argument
There have been claims that military officials have obtained valuable information from suspected terrorists through torture. When it is in the publics’ best interest in a situation when there is an immediate danger then it is reasonable to use the torture method. The government makes decisions by balancing the value of one life over many because the needs of many outweigh the needs of the few.

If there is a large population’s lives are at immediate risk and the suspect has been captured there is reason to use torture. Torture is used with the intent to create conditions favorable for successful interrogation, which is to break down one’s will. Many agencies claim that torture has been a successful tool in obtaining valuable information and this is used to justify the illegal action the U.S chooses to practice. In the end, it is argued that saving the lives of many justify the means of torture.

Torture is inhumane, dehumanizing, and illegal under the Constitution and international law; therefore it should not be practiced in any country. There are other forms of interrogation and ways to extract information from suspected terrorists.

Torture is an unethical and intense approach to attempt to extract information from someone who only suspected to be a terrorist. Torture is illegal according to law and every detainee is not the actual person wanted and may not have any information at all. Unless there is immediate danger and millions of lives are at risk then the use of torture should not be exercised on a detainee who is only a suspected terrorist. It is not ethical to dehumanize a suspect who is possibly innocent.

If any other country held our military in confinement and used the torture method, the U.S would be outraged and they would make it a known point that torture is illegal. This method is not always reliable because a detainee could give false information or hold off on giving information where it is enough time for the terrorist group to change their coarse of action.

The definition of what exactly is considered a severe punishment has not yet been definitively resolved, therefore any torture methods used by the U.S are not claimed to be actual torture. If another country held our military in confinement and using torture methods the U.S would point out its illegality and do anything to prevent it. The only torture shown on media sources is the torture used in Middle Eastern countries, which makes the U.S seem as if they are not the bad guys.

A U.S journalist, James Foley was beheaded by a man later known as Jihadi John for an ISIS propaganda video (James, 2016). Although Foley was not a suspected terrorist, the U.S does not like to see its own citizens tortured, therefore the U.S cannot act against another country when they are using the torture method as well. Videos of Foley were sent all over which created an outrage (James, 2016), If the U.S were to send similar videos of the different torture methods they use, it would cause a similar uprising.

The methods used at Guantanamo Bay ignore human rights. The constitution clearly states torture is illegal and “the Geneva Conventions of 1949 were adopted after the Second World War, when it became apparent that combatants had been tortured, dehumanized and executed” (Schneider, 2004). Anyone who is just suspected to be a terrorist may not turn out to be a terrorist or hold any useful information at all. There are millions who are considered suspected terrorists, but they may not be affiliated with any terrorist group, it is completely unnecessary to take away the rights of someone who is just a suspect.

The U.S has been tried for their use of torture at Guantanamo Bay and the result is that “various international agreements that could apply to protect the human rights of individuals detained in Guantanamo Bay and the examination of previous attempts to bring some cases before a court of law, it is clear that the future of the prisoners remains unresolved” (Schneider, 2004). The U.S is aware that the methods used are unethical because it has claimed many times that there is no clear degree of torture and they are sent detainees to other countries to be tortured.

The use of torture is not always the most affective or reliable method of interrogation. Suspected terrorists can lie or say whatever they want just to be released. False confessions or false information that has gone “unrecognized are the dangers that come from undisciplined information gathering, that is from wrongly identifying people as terrorists (“false positives”).

Fundamentally, identifying the wrong people can lead investigators away from the right people and make it more likely that any actual terrorists will be able to carry out their plans” (Foley, 2007). If suspected terrorists are not truthful then this method is not affective and may cause unnecessary chaos among the public. In some countries, terrorists are trained to be tortured and hold information for at least 48 hours. After 48 hours the terrorist groups are able to change their plan of action, making torture a non-reliable interrogation method.


Example #8

Torture is the process of inflicting pain upon other people in order to force them to say something against their own will. The word “torture” comes from the Latin word “torque,” which means to twist. Torture can not only be psychologically but mentally painful. Before the Enlightenment, it was perfectly legal to torture individuals but nowadays, it is illegal to torture anyone under any circumstances.

In this essay, I will demonstrate why torture should never acceptable, no matter the condition. From a moral standpoint, torture is wrong and unacceptable. Many religious people are against this act of violence because they see it as a violation of the dignity of a human being.

The attacks of September 11 brought to attention the debate on torture. The scenario describes an imaginary scene in which an enormous weapon was to unleash and a prisoner is known to have information on the attack but won’t say anything. The United States was faced with a question of whether to torture the prisoner or allow millions of civilians to die. The reason that this scenario doesn’t back up the statement that torture is acceptable sometimes is that it seems to “perfect.”

The conditions are too calculated to actually happen in real life. There are many factors that come into play in situations like this that affect the outcome. It also doesn’t seem as easy as to just torture one person to save a thousand. The event of torturing doesn’t end at that one time; the United States is the most powerful country in the entire world. It sets an example for the rest of the world. One person being tortured will lead to many more to be tortured.

Let’s pretend that there is nothing wrong with torture and that is it not a controversial issue. What good is using torture to obtain information? The use of torture is almost never effective. People that use this process will only hear what they want to hear or the information might not be as reliable. “Someone who is being tortured will happily say that grass is blue and the sky is green if he believes it’ll end the torture.”


Example #9 – interesting ideas

How about religious torture, such as in the Spanish Inquisition to scare the remaining religion out of the Muslim Moors that remained in Spain or the Puritans witch trials. Compare and contrast “mental torture” like “brainwashing”, sensory deprivation, solitary confinement, versus physical torture.

Talk about “waterboarding” that many people say is not torture because there is no physical harm, just severe anguish over the sensation of drowning. Justified torture to save others, such as torturing a kidnapper who is holding a hostage in a secret location, or has planted a bomb and we don’t know where it is, or they know where an escaped killer is but won’t tell.

Torturers acquire the ability to cope with the moral dilemmas of inflicting pain upon and murdering their fellow humans primarily through the processes of “routinization” and “dehumanization”, and also through the notion of “authorization”. With such as the case, an individual adept in the art of torture would necessarily have learned to be cruel, however, that argument neglects the very reality that many engaged in such activities are intrinsically perverse, and in fact willingly and happily do harm to others.

I have an outline due tomorrow, nothing big but we’re doing a peer review so I need to have something down. I wrote the intro but I need a couple of main points to talk about. I could think about first talking about torture and the methods used, the current US stance, but what else?

Answer. Talk about how torture can retrieve information that can save thousands of people for example you torture one guy who knows something about a bombing that’s going to kill thousands of people. Had it not been for torture that guy never would have spoken and in turn, all of those innocent people would have died to ask the reader what is more important the lives of those thousands of people or the torture of the guilty person?



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