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Torture and War Towards Terrorism Essay

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2022

Torture can be defined as the act of inflicting intolerable or severe and even persistent psychological or physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion to given persons. (Slomanson, 2003). It has been used for many years as a form of punishment so as to retrieve information from individuals who have been suspected to be or are terrorists. It is cruel and inhuman treatment without trial as a form of giving revenge.

There are many ways of torturing a person for example chopping off body parts, making one sit or step on hot metal, severe weeping, starving to death, drowning or making one stand in water for many hours, making a person stay in a dark room for may days without seeing light which might lead to blindness or rather kidnapping one’s family members or closet friend or giving them threatening messages of death. These are just but a few of the several ways many victims of torture undergo

Torturing can either be physical meaning inflicting physical pain onto an individual or mental that is causing psychological stress. For example, when you deny one sleep, it does not actually inflict physical pain but rather a physical suffering. We can also describe an act as torture if only the victim involved was defenses during that time. An example of mental torture can be explained by the following; Y is a friend to X, they have been caught in the same crime act, Y is then taken to a separate room adjacent to Xs room. Electric shock treatments are inflicted onto Y, and he cries in pain loudly that X is able to realize and hear, thus discovering what his friend is undergoing.

This will cause mental torture to him because he views himself as the next patient. It can also be carried out by slaying one’s closes friends Countrymen or relatives. For example, the acts carried out by the Al Shabas of Somalia who are slaughtering other people because of protesting their doctrines.

Timor Leste is a state in Southern Asia. It is one of the predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other one being the Philippines.

There have been many arguments on whether torture should be used in the fight against terrorism. War on terrorism is a common term for military, police, legal and ideological conflict against what the effort leaders describe as Islamic terrorism and Islamic militants, and was specifically used in reference to operations by the United States since the September 11, 2001 attack.

Despite all this torture is widely used. Contrary to the widespread belief, torture is not the preserve despot of military regimes in the third Nations. This because there have been cases of developed states associated with forms of torture, for instance, United States has been accused of using torture to senior Al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Iraqi prisoners and even prisoners at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, where suspected Al Qaeda terrorist are held. The society should change their mind in believe that torture is always wrong. This assumption is undesirable and should be corrected; the following are reasons for justification of torture in fight against terrorism.

Torture is important because it can used to extract viable and sensitive information from suspected individuals. Through it, the police department or the military can extract sensitive information concerning security of the Nation and the people of Timor Lestes thus enabling them to curb terrorist activities (prevention is better than cure). Timor Lestes police force can use both the mental and physical torture to suspects so that they can reveal secrets (Robertson and Merrill, 1996). For example, let as assume that a terrorist network has placed a large bomb on one of the several passenger planes flying from Dili to Atapupu.

The planes are supposed to depart in few hours times, fortunately, the information is leaked to the security department. This may have happened through some information leaked on the internet which states that the bomb will explode in an hour’s time. The airport security scrutinizes and checks all individuals, only to find two people in possession of chemical traces that might have been used in the launching process. For these two suspects to give viable information, the security might be forced to use one or more ways of torture so as to reveal the plane and exact place where the bomb is, in order to save many innocent lives.

Definitely, everyone would want the information extracted by all means, even if pain and suffering imposed on the terrorist resulted in their annihilation. From this, we can see that at times torture is morally upright because it will be illogical to insist on blanket prohibition against torture.

Torture as self-defense mechanism: At times, torture is necessarily for self-defense. During this time, the right to life of the wrongdoer can be denied in order to save innocent life. Let’s still take that case of the airport in Dili. If it happened that one of the of the terrorist got hold of lets say a woman in the airport and pointed a gun to her, so as to make certain demands, which the police will have to adhere to. If the airport security happened to get a loophole, then its advisable to kill or un-harm the terrorist in order to save an innocent person. It will also be unreasonable to have mercy for the terrorist at the expense of the innocent woman.

Torture is also permissible as way of revenging genocide master minder. Torture is therefore justified in cases of genocide, the master minder of this must face the necessarily punishments even if it means being denied the right to live (Steiner and Alston, 2000). Impunity should be condemned and people to pay for their wrong doings. For example, Sadam Hussein was executed for having committed several crimes against humanity.

Through this, it serves as an example to other individuals who might have or plan to engage in this. Those who promote unity and peace could be rewarded, as those who led to extra-judicial killings are supposed to face the charges for their consequences. For instance, in Timor Leste, in 1996 the Nobel Peace Price was awarded to two men, that is, Carlos Fillipe Ximenes Belo and Jose Ramos Horta for their endless efforts to end the occupation which claimed 100000 to 300000 East Timorese lives out of population less than one million.

Torture helps to instill fear thus prevent terrorism. It is arguably clear that fear is the worst enemy to reasoning and if their reasoning is tempered with, then it implies that their practices would have been greatly affected (Smith, 2005). Through torture individual are forced to halt their terrorist activities and some will even abandon or rather disband for a given period of time or forever. For instance, the stance the United State took on Al Qaeda group after the 2001 bombing has really jeopardized the group’s terrorist activities.

Those who were caught were put under torture and even some lost their lives. If torture could have been used in Timor Leste, then the twenty five years of war could have been reduced to much laser period. Through torture, some civilians from Indonesia could have feared to carry out the extra-judicial executions being it could also result in their suffering in the later years.

Torture can also leads to loss of life, physical and mental impairment (Robertson, 2009). From this point of view if this occurs, then it therefore implies that those involved in terrorist activities will not exist, thus no terrorism just in case death occurs to them, and secondly if they happen to be impaired then this is a disadvantage cause to their involvement.

On the other hand, torture is a violation of human rights. It instills both physical and emotional trauma to the person to whom it is being administered. The negative outcome of torture may include the following; the person who is being tortured may know nothing about the required information and hence provide false information in order to put the torture to a stop. It is also possible that the subject of torture might die before he or she provides the necessary information.

The torture might be so severe that it leaves the subject mentally incapacitated hence making him or her burden to the family. Torture may also lead to physical incapacitation of the subject. Furthermore, an innocent person may be tortured and severely injured in an attempt to extract information from him and yet he does not bare any (O’Neill, et al., 2004).

I do recommend the use of torture in fight against terrorism as per the above discussions, if at all this will help to protect innocent lives of children, mothers and the disabled and many others who happen to find themselves in the scenario of this activities.

In conclusion, torture should be used appropriately to fight terrorism where need be and there is enough evidence suspects are prime culprits of terrorism. At this point, cases of human rights and rights to life should be neglected as those who involve themselves in terrorist acts do harm innocent lives, and therefore do not respect other people’s rights. For example, it will be very hard to get information about the Al Qaeda if we happened to arrest one of them and expect that mere talking will help us get tangible information. It is therefore necessarily to instill some pain on the individual if need be, this will lead to him or her cooperating and therefore releasing viable and sensitive information touching on the security of the country.

The so called international human rights organizations should also help in the fight against terrorism by accepting that torture is a vital factor in curbing this, their main concern should be to ensure that thorough investigation is carried out before inflicting pain so as to ensure that innocent people do not suffer. These organizations should be made to understand that we cannot protect people who have in way or the participated in terrorist activities, as they are a threat to other people lives.


Evans, T., (2005). The Politics of Human Rights: a Global Perspective, 2nd ed. London: Pluto Press.

O’Neill, N., Rice, S., & Douglas, R. (2004). Retreat from injustice: Human Rights law in Australia, 2nd ed. NSW: Federation Press.

Robertson, A. H., & Merrill’s, J. G. (1996). Human Rights in the World, 4th ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Robertson, G. (2009). The Statute of Liberty: How Australians can take back their rights. Sydney: Vintage Books

Slomanson, W. R. (2003). Fundamental Perspectives on International Law, 4th ed. Wadsworth: Thomson Learning.

Smith, R. (2005). Textbook on International Rights, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Smith, R, (2005). Essentials of Human Rights. London: Arnold.

Steiner, H. J., & Alston, P. (2000). International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press.

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