Following the terrorist attacks on the United States of America more than a decade ago, the government as well as the public has shown its support for torture during interrogation of terrorists. However, this topic raises a lot of controversy especially on its moral perspective. This article will discuss the moral question that surrounds this issue.
Most of the people who support torture of the terrorists base their stand on the premise that the end justifies the means. In this case, the end is saving millions of lives of the citizens of America whereas the means refers to the torture inflicted on the terrorists (Velasquez & Andre, 2011). Sometimes, this torture goes beyond the individual culprit and incorporates even their relatives including their little children to request their compliance.
Although application of torture on suspected terrorists in order to acquire important information is ethically wrong, there is a need to draw a line that exempts a ‘ticking time bomb’ setting. It is also not acceptable to torture members of the terrorist’s family such as his child or wife. However, this argument is likely to change when one’s child is kidnapped by terrorists with an intention to use the child as a sacrificial lamb. In such a situation, one would be emotionally compelled to apply brutal force on the terrorist so that he can provide necessary information on the location and the time the bomb will detonate. Therefore, it all depends on the perspective used in assessing the issue (Velasquez & Andre, 2011).
In one way, it sounds ridiculous to use this method to access information on possible terrorist attack since they are not the only ones who withhold such crucial facts. Sometimes, there are many other free citizens and people in high government offices who have access to information that could pose a tremendous threat to the American lives. They are either not willing to disclose it or they have no one interested to interrogate them. Utilitarianism is a moral code of conduct that advocates for a course of actions to be right in any given situation provided they are helpful for the advantage of the majority (Velasquez & Andre, 2011). However, reliance on this method for moral judgment cannot be encouraged. This is because utilitarianism does not consider application of justice.