Thought #57. Is torture ever justified?

 

Does the end justify the means? First and foremost, the mere fact of writing down these questions repels me. We live in a so-called developed world in which governments must uphold the principles of democracy. I would like to express my disapproval towards those countries that profit from information extracted by others under “enhanced” interrogation methods.

Unquestionable as it is that not only our country but the rest of Europe is living under an undying terrorist threat, we cannot move the goalposts at our convenience. By doing that, we would jeopardise fundamental human rights and that would be legitimately punishable by international law. As democracy should oblige, it is not enough to condemn the violation of the rights promoted by treaties such as the Geneva Conventions or the UN Declaration of Human Rights, we ought to obey the rules to the letter and without exception. That is the definition of law, isn’t it?

If a country uses military intelligence reports based on information gathered out of torture, they are backing it up; as clear as day. In face of persuading public opinion, politicians could claim that not by any means is this behaviour tantamount to condoning the violation of international law. It just so happens that, for the vast majority of us, overlooking the means borders on justifying them.

Giving terrorists a taste of their own medicine is not a solution. It is deeply cynical to try to conceal this countenance to torture. Must we applaud those who turn a blind eye? Is torture ever justified? We must respect the law and promote the principles of democracy with firmness. Only by being consistent with the treaties we signed, will we be defending civil liberties.