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Can an ethical case ever be made for the use of torture during interrogation?

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  1. The ''war on terror'' has exacerbated the belief that torture during interrogation is justifiable and has created a legal environment in which torture is possible
  2. The attempts to make an ethical case for the use of torture during interrogation
    1. The false assumption of the effectiveness of torture
    2. Torture as pragmatically desirable
    3. Torture as morally acceptable because of its pragmatic effectiveness
  3. However, torture can never be justifiable
    1. Torture is inherently and morally wrong
    2. Torture during interrogation is inefficient
    3. The problem of the slippery slope

In the ancient Greece and Rome, the testimony of a slave would not be taken into account in a judicial investigation, unless the statement had been obtained after the subject was submitted to torture. Nowadays, although torture has been banned from legal systems and condemned at the international level, it continues to be widespread. There has been a semantic evolution of the word "torture" through the centuries, and this evolution has also had an impact on the concept itself. In that sense, as Peters points out, before the 17th Century, the definition was purely legal, and referred to as a "torment inflicted by a public authority for ostensibly public purposes". After that date, the definition started to be more moral. It then evolved into becoming a sentimental one since the 19th Century. What this evolution means is that torture is perceived more and more as a private element, which, according to Peters, is inaccurate. As far as he is concerned, torture belongs to the public sphere, and as an illustration, he provides a comparison between torture and execution, explaining that torture is "aggravated assault", when execution means "murder?. This distinction is the one that has also been made by the legislators and that is transcribed in the texts prohibiting torture. This also separates it from other "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".

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