Torture today is subject to diverse universal moral legal condemnation. Along with other vices like genocide and slavery, torture has been established to violate the primary customs of human rights. In both war and peace, most states have affirmed that torture is fundamentally illegal and wrong as it violates general principles of human dignity. However, this has not been the scenario in different countries based on security measures put in place. The story surrounding torture is one that involves the change of norms, practices and law of different countries and in this case the United States of America (Ackerman, 2006). Previously, the practice was considered as wholly legitimate among the government agencies concerned with domestic and international security. It was being practised openly in the service of the law to obtain information among alien enemies that posed threat to the safety of the American citizens and its institutions. Even after the development of new international and domestic legal prohibitions by the respective bodies like the United Nations, torture never disappeared. Some practices of torture are still administered off the record to ensure information is obtained from suspects involved with serious crimes like terrorism. The process of transformation from torture practices to anti-torture methods informs the diligence of the torture question in the post 9/11 era. The American security and intelligence bodies have been challenged by the rise of human rights campaigns on warfare victims and culprits surrounding the torture practice. The balance between delay of information and rights offer challenges to the agencies in acquiring information to protect the citizens and other partners and allies.
The resort to torture and other brutal, degrading and inhuman practices was not started during the Bush administration. The entanglement between law o human rights and the need for torturer is not a new phenomenon. The practice has been a radical rupture within the history of torture in the different parts of the world. The events of the past decades marked a reconfiguration of the assemblage of legal, normative and practical elements that shape the usage of torture in the various intelligence and security bodies in the country. Torture in the current American scenario is a practice that has been formulated by legal and political elites to achieve defined objectives such as extracting information and penalizing marked populations (Ackerman, 2006). However, because the systems of domestic and international proscription are so strong, the practice cannot be done openly without facing any consequences. To evade such restrictions in the past, decision-makers often chose to denial as a measure to protect themselves from legal prosecutions and sanctions. While concealment of torture practices persist today, concerns about legitimacy and prosecution, along with the complexity of hiding torture activities, have incited a shift towards a scheme of “plausible legality,” or the efforts to interpret the exercise of torture as legal. The main ploy of doing so is pivoted on the redefinition of torture. The shifts highlight forms in which challenges maintain to influence the demeanour of human rights infringing customs (Behnke, 2004).
The ticking bomb case example has been used to question those who are against non-lethal torture practices in the need to curd insecurity. The variations in the scenario have been commented upon by many philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Michael Walzer and Jeremy Bentham. The moral issues arising out of such scenarios will whether protecting the life of one person is worthy more than that of a major population in which he or she is threatening. The proponents of torture will take the torture option in relation to the ticking bomb ideology (Cole, 2009). The respecting of the life of person who seems to be a threat to the society in general is not reasonable enough to respect his rights as prescribed by the different legal statutes. The given intelligence and security body has to take all the measures to ensure the lives of the innocent citizens are protected at all costs. On the branches of security, Homeland Security plays a role under United States Army Military Intelligence Corps by tracing its foundation to the historic and traditional functions of a given government. Some of the recognized roles in past included civil defense, law enforcement, emergency response, customs making, border patrols and immigration controls. After the 9/11 incidence, the security body took drastic steps and formed measures and policies to curb the ticking bomb scenarios. The initial general functions of the government took a new urgency and organization to adapt to the changes in the terror new tactics in the global scene. Homeland security strives to adapt the traditional functions of security bodies to confront the new risks and evolving hostile cells of terror groups (Behnke, 2004). The expansion taken to curb insecurity matters takes both the government and the civilians’ efforts to coordinate and appreciate their support. The organization encourages homeland security to approach security matters through a shared effort to interdict and identify threats; to deny any hostile group the capability to operate within the country’s borders; to maintain an effective management of the physical borders; to maintain a lawful trade and travel practice into and out of the country; to dismantle and disrupt global terrorist groups; and ensure that there is national flexibility at the onset of any the threat and hazards identified. The efforts identified by the organization in collaboration with the Homeland Security branch must support a motherland that is secure and safe from any activity of terrorism and other threats and in which United States interests, way of life and inspirations can thrive.
The current disparity on the classic “ticking bomb case” involves a captured terrorist who declines to reveal information about a pending use of artilleries of mass destruction, like chemical, nuclear or biological devices, that are able to kill and injure thousands of innocent civilians. The groups of persons opposing the non-lethal torture practices will advocate for the due processes of the law to take place at all the time insinuating that torture is just torture no matter how secure you call it (Ackerman, 2006). Such measures like having rights to fair trial and an advocate, thorough investigations being conducted and an attendance of court hearings must be adhered to by the parties to the case as promoted by opponents to torture practices. A security approach views such incidences as a delay to safeguarding the lives of innocent citizens who will be casualties of a radicalized terrorist. The notion that America does not negotiate with terrorists should also promote the need to take the uncalled for measures to ensure that a given suspect gives information. Moral issues should be delinked from security issues when it comes to warfare and insecurity threats. The opponents should realize that those who pose threat to the security and safety of the American citizens do not have the moral standards to respect the lives of innocent persons who are not involved in any warfare in the world. An example can be seen in the Boston Marathon bombing and the 9/11 incidences. Those involved did not consider the public was not involved at any given time in their cries of being frustrated by the government of the day. The attacks took place and killed innocent persons without considering their moral perspective (Bamford, 2008).
The political approaches to non-lethal torture are taken through the development and economic approach of the country. The government must encourage development at the different sectors of the country. Development is an economic, strategic, and moral imperative that will foster more information of rights. The United States Army Military Intelligence Corps under the new legal standards also focused on assisting some developing sectors and their citizens to supervise security threats that may facilitate non-torture practices (Cox, Michael & Saul, 2009). The government also intends to inform the new allies on how to reap for benefits of international economic growth, and setting in place democratic and accountable institutions that serve the basic human needs of the members when it comes to torture campaigns and information.The realizations of an affirmative and aggressive development agenda in the 21st century will commensurate resources in the respective areas. Also strengthening the global partners will assist the country to counter the global terror groups and stop conflicts to avoid instances of using non-lethal torture measures; build a stable that will ensure security for all American nationals in the world. An inclusive worldwide economy with the new foundations of prosperity; advancement in human rights democracy will position the country to address the key global security challenges (Cole, 2009). The organization also assists the government in growing ranks of democratic, capable, and prosperous, countries that can be allies and partners in the years to come. The organization also plays a role in the expansion of the civilian progress capability; appealing with global financial bodies that influence the country’s resources and advance its objectives. The organization further encourages the national and federal governments to pursue a development budget that is more likely to reflect its policies and strategies, but not the sector earmarks; and ensures that its policies instruments are in support of security measures to promote development objectives (Behnke, 2004). The government has realized that economic institutions are also critical gear of the national government’s capacity to fight insecurity but at the same time realize rights of the society members. The economic sustainable instruments offer the bedrock of sustainable national prosperity, growth, and influence on human rights. The Office of the Federal Reserve Board, the United States Trade Representative Management and Budget, the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, State, Energy, and Agriculture, and other institutions are vital institutions to the organization when it comes to fighting security threats. They help manage trade, currency, inflation, foreign investment, deficit, productivity, and national competitiveness within the region and at the international level. The organization has also expanded on the need to remain a vibrant current economic power so as to create a close relationship among and between emerging nations and developed nations. The idea behind such an approach is that the global economy requires partners and allies to trade for intelligence and business opportunities to curd insecurity challenges. America, like any other state, is a dependent of other overseas markets to trade its products and then maintain access to the scarce resources and merchandise from other nations. The finding of an overlapping joint economic significance within other countries and maintaining the economic relations are some of the key elements taken by the organization to concentrate on national security strategies in the new warfare environment (Cole, 2009).
The United States as a country has legislated its own comprehensive anti-torture laws. It has localised international rules and regulations surrounding torture, and separately generated and institutionalized a strong anti-torture regime. In addition to broad constitutional safeguards, torture has been banned in several statutes in the country and at the federal levels (Cole, 2009). The American military law on the other hand has always illegalized torture. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) relates to the military human resources, persons helping or accompanying the armed forces experts in the field during war times, captives of war in the detention of the armed forces, and secret agents. Territorially, it applies in all places: “Any person subject to this chapter who is guilty of cruelty toward, or oppression or maltreatment of, any person subject to his orders shall be punished as a court-martial may direct” The Human Intelligence Collector Operations Field Manual FM 34-52 (1992, updated 2006) reproduces the Geneva Conventions (Dyzenhaus, 2006).
Intelligence is a component of the national security that a country relies upon for safe keeping of safety of the citizens and the country in general. The legal perspective surrounding torture has mainly relied on the country’s prosperity and safety in intelligence. The quality of the intelligence will also determine the levels of non-torture steps will be taken to protect the country. Human rights organization and other related non-governmental organizations collect data, analyze information produced from gathered data, have the ability to share and evaluate the information and data in a timely manner, and the ability to counter any torture practices scenarios (Bedan, 2007). The aspects of intelligence under the current systems established in the government offers relevant strategic intelligence that forms executive decisions towards determining the use on non-lethal torture practices. The intelligence gathered supports the homeland security, local, state, tribal governments, the States troops, and critical national missions across the global scene. The government is still working to improve the integration of the Intelligence Community and at the same time enhancing the capabilities of the Intelligence Community members to function properly on terror concerns. The anti-torture groups are also strengthening the country’s partnerships with other foreign intelligence services across the world and still maintaining strong ties with its close allies and partners. The other step has also been to the continuous investment in the women and men of the Intelligence Community in the country to facilitate rules and regulations that foster human rights when it comes to torture and non-lethal torture practices (Dyzenhaus, 2006).
Strategic Communications relate the manner in which each property of the political, legal and moral issues relate towards torture surroundings and debates. The government has to make changes in the communication channels involving security threats of terror nature in the new environmental security dispensation. Effective and strategic communications are important to the sustenance of international legality and supporting the policies aimed at curbing insecurity aspects in the world (Behnke, 2004). The national and federal governments have promoted the alignment of the States’ actions with its words as a shared responsibility that must be promoted by the practice of communication throughout national and federal governments. The government through the organization must also be more efficient in its purposeful communication and engagement. The approach will ensure that the government does a better job of understanding the opinions, attitudes, grievances, and concerns of the people in the elite and general groups. Such steps allow the country to convey credible and reliable messages, and to develop the necessary effective plans. The organization will also have a better understanding on how the actions taken for security measures will be perceived at the national and international levels. The organization also uses a broad range of systems for communicating with other foreign nationals (Dyzenhaus, 2006).
The use of torture around security measures should be encouraged based on set legislations. The non-lethal torture techniques should be encouraged in the intelligence and security branches to ensure that known terrorists who are captured are taken through the processes to get information. The need to safe guard the national security should come before the needs of one person who can be sacrificed for the benefit of the country. The principle of the good for the general public must be subjected to the test when the time of attack arises like the tick time bomb scenario (Cole, 2009).
Ackerman, Bruce. Before the Next Attack: Preserving Liberties in an Age of Terrorism. New
Haven: Yale University Press, 2006
Bamford, James. The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the
Eavesdropping on America. New York: Doubleday, 2008
Bedan, Matt. “Echelon’s Effect: The Obsolescence of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Legal
Regime.”Federal Communications Law Journal, 2007
Behnke, Andreas. “Terrorising the Political: 9/11 Within the Context of The Globalisation of
Violence.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2004
Cole, David. The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable. New York: The New Press,
Cox, Damian, Michael P. Levine, & Saul Newman. Politics Most Unusual: Violence,
Sovereignty and Democracy in the 'War on Terror. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Dyzenhaus, David. The Constitution of Law: Legality in a Time of Emergency. Cambridge:
Cambridge University press, 2006.