Today, as surprising as the words may seem, our current president, again has pushed his views of torture to the forefront of the political conversation. Trump has been quoted in saying that he believes that torture works(CNBC). And while this may be the common view among people who side with Hammurabi’s Code, I know that as the United States, we are far above such penalties. As a civil society, we should treat everyone humanely, even if we are holding Prisoners of War. My reason being that we must present ourselves above the level of other countries. We must be the better society when everyone else isn’t. This has a massive importance to the treatment of people from other societies.
Trump however, has absolutely disregarded this fact, and used the Presidential platform to voice his uncensored opinion. He said that we should “fight fire with fire”, in reference to terrorist actions. Now I have to step back for a hot second and realize how absurd this statement is. We have a man in the high position known to the free world and he’s outright saying we should torture other people. Like, I tend to wonder if Trump would be able to pass the game show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”, but replace fifth, with first, because that is how elementary he is thinking. He has absolutely no comprehension of the effects of such actions.
Let me establish a hard and solid fact: Torture does not work. It is such a compromising way to obtain information, that we would be better off without forcing information out of our POW’s. The goal of torture is to obtain information pertinent to the enemy forces. And Trump fancies that if we push hard enough, we will get this information. What I don’t think he understands is that with torture, you have to view it from the point of view of the prisoner. They have the mindset that, the best way to get the enemy to stop torturing them, they must give up information. However this information will not be the information needed, it will be the information the interrogator wants. What the interrogator wants won’t necessarily align with the facts, with the real information needed. And while comical but also starkly true, Key and Peele shows that the interrogator will hear whatever he wants to hear.
The better way to obtain such information, is make the prisoner’s guard to falter, allowing genuine information to flow freely. In torture, the prisoner’s guard is always up because they perceive that they are in a hostile environment. But I believe the more important part to Trump’s thumbs up of torture is its implications to other nations and opposing forces. The idea that “If the United States plans to treat our men like garbage, we must do the same”. Thus, this will cause members in the military, if they become POW’s, they will be treated horribly. They will be tortured. And they will be harmed. And so the best way to prevent such things, is to treat the POW’s in our possession humanely.
Now, I will end by saying that legislation and laws stand to prevent such horrendous actions to occur. We may live in a country where the president finds it appropriate to torture prisoners, but I believe that our military knows better than to carry out whatever he says. We can only hope that these laws continue to stand and for us to stand with them, regardless of our president’s words.