A Baker’s Dozen Reasons Why Torture is Wrong

by Nathan Barton


  1. Torture is immoral: it not only violates the Zero Aggression Principle in every way, and the Golden Rule, but it treats humans worse than animals.
  2. Torture is counterproductive: when torture is used, it inevitably becomes a situation in which the person being tortured dies, becomes catatonic, or makes up whatever information or responses the torturer wants to hear.  There is no way to tell whether they are speaking the truth or not.
  3. Torture does NOT make a nation using it safer, because the fact that torture is being used generally results in more anger and more vicious responses: not just torture by the other side, but reprisals on combatants and noncombatants alike. It is sometimes called “blowback,” and it is very common.
  4. Torture is just one of many tactics of tyrannical government run amok and very quickly leads to other tyrannical acts, as it dulls the conscience of those who do it and those who authorize it and accept it. Using torture on evil enemies makes someone as evil (or even MORE evil) that they are.
  5. Torture, like virtually everything else government does, is done incompetently, with more and more license for more and more inappropriate purposes (as if ANY purpose is appropriate) and with less and less excuse.  (This time it is to find out where the hidden bomb that will kill thousands is located; by the time the usual process of government is done, it is used to try and get the guy to admit that he was driving 10 miles over the speed limit.)
  6. Torture causes its users, deservedly, to be condemned as hideous and cruel people and nation that is a rogue state as surely as ANY state which abuses its own people.  Even if that condemnation comes from agencies or nations which themselves are hypocritical in their words, it is deserved.
  7. Torture is unconstitutional: it is usually done without due process and frequently leads directly to death, and is considered by virtually ALL jurists and researchers as “cruel and unusual punishment” even if done by “due process.”
  8. Torture is against the Geneva Convention, whether applied to wartime and soldiers (combatants) or non-combatants at any time or place: the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment adopted in 1988.
  9. Torture historically has been condemned as evil, barbaric, and the tool of tyrants, mass murderers, and the worst of the worst: Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, Torquemada, certain tribes of AmerInds, primitive African tribes.
  10. Torture treats humans as animals and pawns with no value other than whatever information they may have.  It is more than cruel, it is demeaning, dehumanizing, and degrading to those tortured.
  11. Torture dehumanizes and degrades those who practice it, as well, and their comrades in arms and the politicians who condone or authorize it.  Even more than they already are.
  12. Torture wastes valuable resources.  Not just time and money immediately, and the good will even of your allies and potential allies, but the very people you are fighting, and their families and friends and comrades, and the human resources of your own intelligence services, but rendering them unfit in the future, and requiring considerable time and effort to either repair them (mentally and morally) or deal with their broken souls when they turn on their masters and comrades and countrymen.
  13. Torture smells bad.  I know, a minor point, but I did promise a baker’s dozen (thirteen).  But it smells bad both physically and psychically and spiritually.  The Bible speaks of a seared conscience, of people who cannot discern between good and evil.  It is not just those who authorize and perform torture who are tainted, it is the entire nation, the entire people.

I realize, and have never failed to point out, that those people who killed thousands in attacks on New York and the Pentagon, that those who promote the teaching of Islam and conduct jihad against innocent and guilty alike, that those who kill and abuse and seek to enslave and convert people to their way by force and fraud, ARE enemies not just of the West but of humanity, and must be stopped.  But the ends do NOT justify the means:  NO nation, NO army, NO police force, NO group of contractors or rebels, directly or indirectly, has ANY “right” to torture another human being, no matter WHAT the stakes are.  NOTHING that was done to us by someone else, however evil, permits or allows us to respond with torture, murder of innocents, or any of the other evil acts long associated with warfare conducted by inhuman monsters.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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