The French-Algerian War had divided the French citizens when it raised the issue of whether to keep the status quo, negotiate a status intermediate between independence and complete integration in the French Republic, or allow complete independence. Allegations about the practices of the French police and the French military of resorting to torture in interrogating every Algerian rebel they captured had been the center of controversy during the war (Levack, Muir, and Veldman, 2010, p. 906).
The history of the French-Algerian War gives insightful examples as to the imperfections and the evil of the use of torture in war. It is not merely the trauma from torture that maims its victims for life. It is the entire unjustifiable purpose for which it is being carried out. For what is torture but the habit of exacting horror upon the minds of the vulnerable and defenseless, amid pain, amid terror, amid the spectacle of one’s life hanging on a thread? Of such stuff are kindness and pity murdered.
History may not give all the answers to all our questions due to the uniqueness of each event in the past. But it provides information needed to understand the past and to think constructively about the future. More importantly, it provides a process which any intelligent person may follow in thinking about problems worth his time. In today’s world it is vital for the public to be informed about issues and to know how to assess the worth of conflicting points of view.
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