Securing Liberty: America’s use of torture, post 9/11

Securing Liberty: America’s use of torture, post 9/11

The consequences of the USA PATRIOT Act 2001 are insidious and the future of Guantanamo Bay remains contentious - but surely there is one issue that shouldn’t need to be debated at all. Torture is illegal under international law, yet it continues to be used against terror suspects in various forms. 

Can such methods ever be justified in the pursuit of securing liberty?

The United States has been quick to denounce acts of torture and abuse carried out in overseas prison camps as the wayward behaviour of a few rogue soldiers. The implementation of ‘enhanced interrogation’ is not considered torture at all.

In this debate we ask - what constitutes torture, and what role
such methods should play – if any – in keeping the public safe?

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney insists that the use of ‘enhanced interrogation’ has prevented more than one terrorist plot from reaching fruition. Human rights groups vehemently oppose this position, however - arguing that that torture rarely yields useful information.

In this debate we want to explore the reasons why some think torture is acceptable if it promises safety, against those who think a civilized democracy should never entertain the idea of committing human rights abuses. Public opinion, the views of the administration and the definition of torture are the key means of deciding whether or not torture is truly an effective
means of Securing Liberty.