As if the classes on genocide and human trafficking were not enough of a depressing topic to me, I decided to enroll in a class on torture this upcoming quarter. And no, the purpose of the class is not to educate us on how best to convince a roommate to not leave dirty dishes in the sink for days or how efficiently to respond to a malevolent act from someone we have established as an enemy to our peaceful existence. Rather, the class presents a platform on which to discuss the use of torture as an interrogation technique and provide an answer to the question: Is torture ever a viable method to extract information?
I could argue that torture, physical or psychological, is a subjective experience and what constitutes suffering for one person might not be the same for another person. This, however, is not the purpose of this post. Rather, I choose to focus on certain actions that for anyone, under any circumstances, will constitute torture and will incur painful experiences. Most of us go through our daily lives referring to everyday experiences as torturous and unbearable and often, we do not even stop to consider what the true meaning of torture is. Even though dealing with an employee at the Department of Motor Vehicles office might seem as an intolerable experience that if survived, increases our pain tolerance threshold, no one would hopefully truly argue that this constitutes torture. Yet, these are the kinds of experiences we refer to as torture on a regular basis.
The repeated use of and application of the word torture to a variety of ordinary experiences and events seem to have made many inured to the concept and consequently, they have lost their ability to critically judge a certain practice and to file it under the characterization of torture. An example would be the infamous practice of waterboarding suspected criminals to pull out information pertaining to national security. Personally, the moment I hear a description of what this notorious torture method entails, I have no intention of trying it out to confirm that it is indeed torture. Some, however, are not that smart or are simply very stubborn because they continue to insist that waterboarding does not sound too bad and that people should stop protesting against it. Some of you might then ask why don’t they just try it and prove their point. Well, lucky for you, and me, there are such individuals and personally, I file them under the category of people who serve as a warning to us all. For further illumination on the above point, please watch the video below.
And while we are on the subject of torture, why not include a video that clearly identifies that common people like you and me are the ones who can hurt other human beings, no hardened and conscience-lacking criminals needed.