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Michael Levin in his article “The Case for Torture” argues that torture is not only right in extreme cases but that governments have a moral responsibility to administer it if doing so will save the lives of innocent people. Many people have insisted that torture is impermissible regardless of the situation and that engaging in torture makes us similar to rogue nations that do so. Levin demonstrates that when an individual willingly chooses to endanger the lives of innocent people, then his rights must come second after those of his victims. He gives an example of a terrorist who plants nuclear bomb in Manhattan and when caught refuses to cooperate with imminent danger of an explosion if authorities follow the due process of the law. He raises the question of whether it would be ethically right to respect the right of a professed terrorist at the expense of millions of innocent lives and advocates for torture to recover the location of the bomb and disarm it. For Levin, torture should be exercised for the purposes of saving innocent lives in a scenario where there is sufficient reasons to believe that the culprit has information or skills to save them.
One issue which comes out strongly in his article is the question of legitimizing torture and whether such an act can be justifiable by law or morality. Torture for the purpose of punishment is wrong but torture to deter loss of innocent lives must be considered to be a necessity if no other avenues exist. All of us would gladly approve torture if a person we loved was under imminent threat of being killed by self professed terrorists and it is time we stopped being hypocritical about our stand on the issue. If we would allow torture for the lives of our loved ones, it’s time we allowed it for the sake of our citizens when they are threatened by merciless criminals and terrorists.
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