Was the torture of the Abu Ghraib prisoners morally justifiable?
How torture is defined is always a talking point as we do not know if torturing an individual for vital information is considered moral. Is it necessary to gain this information from another human being whilst also becoming a monster in the process? When do we know when to stop? These are questions I encountered along my journey in the EPQ as I not only had to delve into the justifications of torture, but also the psychological trauma the victim goes through and also the individual carrying out the torture. For this, I used the case of Abu Ghraib; a prison situated 32 km west of Iraq, Baghdad. An infamous case as not only did I examine the heinous acts that were brought upon the prisoners but also absorb other individual’s opinions on this case and what they felt about it. To begin, I had to define torture and what it actually is.
Defining torture is somewhat difficult as there is no concrete definition on what torture actually is. However, I chose this definition purely based on the fact that I believed it summed it up in the best way possible, ‘deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering’. (BBC, 2009) Not only physically, but mentally as well which made me feel intrigued up to the point where I researched on what this may indicate. This included sleep deprivation, exploitation of phobias and so on. In carrying out these methods, are we in fact saving the lives of millions of others? Usually under duress, most individuals do not speak the truth but in fact spout lies in order to stop the suffering. So inflicting severe physical/mental pain onto someone else for perhaps useless information happens at what cost? Our humanity is lost in the process.
‘Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.’ (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1886) I chose this quote to implore the fact that not only...