War On Terrorism And The Ethics Of Torture

Submitted By chellez12
Words: 1773
Pages: 8

War on Terrorism and the
Ethics of Torture

For many years terrorism has played a major part in American history, dating back as far as the late 20th century. They're many parts to understand when exploring and understanding terrorism, such as ethical boundaries of counterterrorism operations, morality target killings, and the use of torture while dealing with a terrorist. When discussing terrorism, understand that they are two different types, domestic and international. Although domestic terrorism has become more popular within the past ten years, it still effects the way we as a country operate. According to the FBI, domestic terrorism is defined as the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government. (Freeh, 2004) International terrorism involves violent acts or act of dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any State by an outside enemy. (Freeh, 2004) Many can debate over which one we should fear as a country but it is important to understand and explore all avenues when discussing terrorism. A person must be able to identify and define terrorism in order to recognize terrorism. Terrorism is defined as a systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.(dictionary.com) Although this country has experience minor domestic attacks throughout the years, it was not until September 11, 2001 that terrorism became one of the worst attacks in American history both physically and economically. This attack has shaped many American lives in several different ways. Loved ones have gone to war, security has become a number one priority in keeping the American people safe, and everyday will not be the same because that attack has effected everyone in one way or another. When dealing with terrorism, ethics can be a very thin line between what is right and what is wrong. Many question what the boundaries should be when dealing with terrorism and counterterrorism? Terrorism is a very dangerous thing because many times many innocent lives are at risk. According to Walzer, "the principle of double effect should be modified so that members of the armed forces should not only refrain from intending to kill civilians who are noncombatants but should also intend to them from being killed, even if this means risking the own lives"(Walzer, 2006). Many have argued that counterterrorism operations are not morally justified but ethically necessary to help protect the innocent lives. Therefore, counterterrorism can be ethically justified depending on the climate of the situation. Ethics no longer apply when it comes to keeping citizens as safe, it becomes a matter of doing what is necessary to terminate terrorist activity in any way to save as many lives. When further researching counterterrorism, they're different elements and strategies used in order to stop attacks. For an example, assassinating or torturing terrorist in order to obtain information to stop them from harming innocent people. Many debate that the counter technique of assassination should not be justified. (Banks, 2013 p.233) According to Khatchadourian, "the outcome of an assassination is the termination of the victim's life by the assassin, who takes the law into his own hands to dispense punishment that is capital in nature and who in doing so becomes the judge of victim's deeds. An assassination also violates the victim's right to life"(Banks, 2013 p. 233). On the contrary, Dr. Rachel Boba Santos disagrees and states that, "the right to life can be forfeited to eliminate great suffering, but not