Sunday, March 24, 2013

American Government 3/18/13

In Class - Introduction to new topic: War on Terror.  Discuss the roles of government and the expansion of the power of the presidency during times of war in relationship to advanced interrogation techniques (ie. torture). 

Homework - QOW due Friday, March 29.

QOW - Do some research outside research on the topics discussed in class.  Include a minimum of two sources and an MLA Works Cited.  This is due by Friday, March 29 by 11:59 pm. 


The post 9/11 era and the War on Terror has dramatically increased the power of the President of the United States.  We are fighting an unknown enemy all throughout the world.  However, the legal aspect of the War on Terror is something the world has never seen.  For instance, prisoners captured by US forces on the battle fields may not be considered prisoners of war by the administration lawyers and therefore not protected under the Geneva Convention.  Sometmes harsh interrogation techniques were performed, which some may argue is torture and strictly against the Geneva Convention.

Respond to the following prompt:

So, is torture an acceptable practice  to gain information that would protect the national security of the United States and/or protect the lives of American soldiers on the battlefields?  Why or why not?


Savanna Cantillo said...

I do and I don't believe it is an acceptable act of practice to torture in order to gain information to protect the national security of the united states and protect the lives of american soldiers. I believe there are other more appropriate ways to deal with such situations. I feel torture is a too brutal of a way to gain information. I understand it is a way of securing information for the government and saving american soldiers lives but I do think their are other ways to gain information and to save lives in a more decent and appropriate manner, such as, you could bribe them or hold them against their will without having to hurt them. I know they torture them in order to protect but I do think they could result to a more appropriate and less hurtful condition. Then again, I do think there are certain conditions where torture could be acceptable, for example, if a terrorist group planted a bomb and the government caught them or if terrorist caught a member of the government and took them to a secret location. Under certain circumstances, I do think it is okay to use torture to protect the lives of the soldiers and government. Torture is unreliable, too many of us it may never be justified under any circumstances and too many it may be praised.

Nicholas Smith said...

I believe that using torture to an advantage in a war tactic situation is absolutely acceptable. In a time of war, anyway to make it so you will conquer the your enemy. Torture seems to be a horrible thing to do but in a time of war it is almost needed. It can save lives and protect many other people as well. When people are risking their lives every single day out there and we might have a slight chance of making yourself ahead of the game to making the world a better place. Anything will do if we get even the slightest amount of information to help out the United States in a war. I do believe that using torture should be used and can be a great advantage.

Aguayo_jesus said...

Using torture tactics as an advantage is very acceptable. Looking at it in a war's point of view, makes it seem as a very smart tactic. We are fighting an "Unknown enemy." Therefore we need every bit of information needed to protect our troops and country. Torture is something that has always been used, and if you look at past wars, there has been incredibly gruesome torturing. It is worth the use just so our military can have an advantage. It could be that sometimes they do it just for the heck f it, but you know most of the time it is for intell.
Washington, Julian Borger in. "US Military in Torture Scandal." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 30 Apr. 2004. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.
Radack, Jasselyn. "Daily Kos." : How the US Military Tortured Bradley Manning. Daily Kos, 01 Dec. 2012. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.

Emily Delgado said...

Torture is one of those things that is a bit tricky to talk about. I think it's because it all depends. Like will the information taken from the prisoner save one life or millions? For all we know, the information could be false. The life or lives of the persons will be in jeopardy. You can try and try to get the "correct" information out of the prisoner but will the information actually be useful? It is hard to find truth nowadays. All we see now are lies and more lies. You can do only so much to them to try and get the information you need out of them but you might not get the information out until it's too late. Especially when the prisoner is loyal to his or her country. You never know maybe you caught the wrong prisoner and you end up torturing an innocent person. What happens then? Killing an innocent person isn't the same as killing someone who actually knew the information. Basically, I disagree with torture. It's unpredictable.

Olga Espinoza said...

I believe that the act of torture isn’t acceptable in my perspective, but it’s acceptable for those who believe that it’s effective. It’s likely that it won’t get you the information that you are looking for and all that time invested to find out the “truth” has been wasted. Those who are being tortured will say anything to be released and the U.S. government will believe it. Torture isn’t the best way to acquire information because the information given couldn’t be authentic. The Bush administration gave the military authorization to torture the prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. Some of these acts of torture aren’t acceptable because it’s very inhuman. But minor acts of torture can be effective and used as an advantage for the safety of U.S. citizens and soldiers. For instance, if acts of torture were used on a prisoner and reveals critical information to the government, then this could prevent any future terrorist attacks or anything that could harm people. On the other hand, what if the prisoner was innocent and didn’t belong to a terrorist group? We can’t predict if a person is innocent or not because we have their life in our hands; therefore, torture isn’t the perfect solutions to getting all the government’s problems solved.

Rosenbaum, A. S. "The Ethics of Torture." Choice 49.1 (2011): 48-. ProQuest. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

Ross, James. "Black Letter Abuse: The US Legal Response to Torture since 9/11." International Review of the Red Cross 89.867 (2007): 561-90. ProQuest. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

Elizabeth said...

I believe that torture is an acceptable practice to gain information that would protect the national security of the United States and to protect the lives of American soldiers on the battlefields when they know that it will have an effect. There are pros and cons as to why torture should be acceptable practice. One of the reasons as to why it should be practiced is to help gain an understanding to what the battlefields may hold when it comes to it war or anything similar. If people are willing to become American soldiers than they should know what to expect from the battlefields and they should be physically and mentally challenged to become prepared to fight unknown enemy. Knowing that America might be in danger due to terrorist activities, there should be a point in which soldiers should torture to save America in dangerous situations. The cons to torture are that is a very brutal way to gain information, it can lead to many different issues and it can also put a bad overview on American soldiers. Sometimes harsh interrogation techniques are performed, but in other words in can lead to negative thoughts throughout the U.S. Torture should only be used when needed, not just because it should happen. Torture isn’t always going to be the solution to every problem that the U.S encounters. Torture can solve some problems, but it’s not always the right answer.
-"Torture in the United States." Civil Liberties. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.
-"History News Network." History News Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.