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Final Draft for Torture Definition Essay

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Final Draft for Torture Definition Essay

Torture is a word that is often used in the media, yet everyone seems to have their own definition of it. Dictionary.com has a simplistic definition of torture, calling it "the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty. The United Nations Convention Against Torture (commonly known as CAT) has a far more intricate definition of the word:

Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions.

In its effort to define torture, it can be argued that the UN made its meaning even more ambiguous to everyone with the possible exception of lawyers. Instead of adding to the confusion, it makes more sense to lean towards the simplistic definition that is first mentioned above. This paper will also show how people and entire countries manipulate the use and meaning of torture in a way that conveniently excludes them from any guilt.

The events of September 11 forced the United States to re-evaluate its security measures. President Bush established that those people suspected of being involved in terrorist activities would be detained in Guantanamo Bay. However, consider the case of Mohammed Jawad. Jawad was an Afghani teenager suspected of throwing a grenade at a US military jeep in Kabul in 2002, wounding two US soldiers and an Afghan interpreter. He was interrogated twice: the first time by Afghan soldiers, who threatened to kill his family if he did not admit to the crime, and the second time was by U.S. military in Gitmo, which was determined to be an abusive interrogation.

It is these types of situations that are forcing the United States to re-evaluate its definition of torture. Whether the detainees are indeed guilty or innocent, the U.S. government is holding captives indefinitely, often without any clear charges and without any constitutional rights. Of the detainees that have been released, many claim that they were victims of beatings, exposure to temperature extremes, often deprived of even minimal sleep time, and subjected to vicious attacks from guard dogs, which all have been euphemized as "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Many of these events were well-known and were not isolated. In fact, the CIA and the Justice Department's



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