Ticking Time Bomb Research Paper

analytical Essay
1640 words
1640 words

The use of torture has become a prominent matter of dispute as we enter an age of the global war on terror. The debate on whether it has become morally permissible to torture terrorists is argued by many as the legitimacy of such actions are brought into question in a world where global terror is outstanding. With the use of the ticking time bomb scenario, some make a desirable case that in special circumstances, there is a right to torture individuals implicated is acts of mass violence. Yet many would still argue that there are an array of inconsistencies hidden within the ticking bomb scenario and there are no circumstances where torture can be morally permissible, no matter what the consequences may hold.

The ticking time bomb scenario is simplistic. A bomb has been planted in a highly populated city, we don't know where it has been situated but we have the suspected terrorist in custody. Time is running out and we have no answers to the location. The ticking time bomb scenario outlines that in this situation, it would be justifiable to torture the suspect if it meant saving thousands of lives. (Buffachi, Arrigo, 2006) This scenario indicates various reasons to legitimise torture and provides desirable and even heroic qualities in committing the act. Though it initially appears as a persuasive argument of heroic actions of the good of thousands over the good of the one, it raises several issues on whether or not it is still morally permissible to torture no matter what the scenario implies. Though the morality of the act in this scenario is riddled with inconsistencies and fictitious outcomes, it has become the prime support in arguments that justify the use of torture in the 21st century war on terror.

Some would say th...

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... of allowing torture to take place in these exceptions alone creates grounds to reject the scenario based on the wider consequences of allowing torture to become routine. Many arguments on why the scenario does not give anyone the right to torture a suspect also stem from the assumptions that the suspect is indeed guilty of the crime and that they will indeed deliver the information needed. Bufacchi & Arrigo (2006) agree with this assumption but would also depict that because no one else has yet to propose a quicker fix to the ticking bomb scenario without torture, it is the winning idea because it is the best they have. (pg. 367) Yet, this cannot justify the use of torture on an individual because not only is it a direct violation of their basic rights as a human being, there are too many factors to account in the scenario to completely justify the use of torture.

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that charles krauthammer's specialised group of individuals with knowledge in torture would create a type of torture culture in society and legitimise its use.
  • Analyzes krauthammer's idea of limiting torture techniques to specialised individuals and creating a torture culture conflicts significantly with the right of torturing individuals in extreme circumstances.
  • Analyzes how henry shue's ticking time bomb theory is deceptive in its means of producing an argumentative point in favour of torture.
  • Analyzes how shue claims that the ticking time bomb scenario removes negative features from the example to make it appear better than what it really is.
  • Analyzes how vittorio beffachi and jean maria arrigo's (2006) critique of the scenario outlines that the ticking bomb theory is based on heavy assumptions with little fact to support it.
  • Analyzes bellamy's claim that torture can lead to slippage in the war in terror. the ticking time bomb provided a sense of normality to the issue and can become recurring within interrogations.
  • Argues that allowing torture to take place in these exceptions creates grounds to reject the scenario based on the wider consequences of torture becoming routine.
  • Argues that torture is morally permissible in the 21st century war on terror. the ticking time bomb scenario is simplistic.
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