Some individuals would agree that torture would be necessary if terrorist/criminals that were captured possessed information that could potentially harm millions of people or families. Now torture has taken on a whole new meaning. Torture is the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain. In Michael Levin’s essay “The Case of Torture,” he makes some good points about why torture should be mandatory, but his points appeal to emotion and he contradicts himself in his essay.

Michael Levin makes some good points in his essay but instead of him trying to back his points up with concrete details and ways to the solve problems when the terrorist is caught, he asks questions. Levin says, “Suppose a terrorist has hidden an atomic bomb on Manhattan Island which will detonate at noon on July 4 unless… (Here follow the usual demands for money, and release of his friends from jail). Suppose, further, that he is caught at 10 a.m. of the fateful day, but preferring death to failure won’t disclose where the bomb is. What do we do” (359)? Levin wants the reader to agree with him and find what he is saying to be true, but how can the read agree if he/she is being asked questions instead of being informed on what should be done to the terrorist that would be caught in this situation.

Secondly, Michael Levin does not talk about what would happen if the wrong person was picked up because he/she matched the description of a terrorist that was being looked for. In these times many random events like school shootings, and bombings, has force the government to put in a new act called stop and frisk. All this does is give authorities the opportunity to stop anyone that look suspicious so they can frisk them, also they can just pick someone up and say he looks like he was up to no good, he might be planning something. Levin needs more explanation in his piece; so people can get a
better understanding of why he wants to make torturing criminals that possess information which can potentially cause havoc a mandatory thing. Levin continues to say, “Torturing the terrorist is unconstitutional? Probably. But millions of lives surely outweigh constitutionality” (359). In the United States it is written in the constitution that cruel and unusual punishments, including torture is prohibited. With that being said Levin does discuss the issue of picking up the wrong person and thinking they are the culprit but he does not go into details on what happens if that situation occurs.

Lastly, Levin contradicts himself in his piece by saying, “Just as torture is justified only to save lives (not extort confessions or recantations), it is justifiably administered only to those known to hold innocent lives in their hands” (360). The whole purpose of torturing someone is to get information out of them. What he is trying to say is unclear at this point. He is confusing the reader; one does not torture someone not to get information out of that person, and in Levin’s whole piece he talks about how the government should torture terrorist, so they can get information out of him/her because that information can potentially save millions of lives. He does not even try to elaborate on his contradiction; he just jumps to another point. In order for the reader to agree with Levin he needs to give more details in his piece and focus on one point at a time.

All in all, Levin had some great points in his piece, but it seemed like he was not sure of what he was talking about. He was asking to much questions, which cause the reader to also have some questions that should have had been answered in the essay. Levin should have much more details in his piece to answer the questions he is asking, in order to get the reader to agree with him he needs to give the reader something to agree with. Levin wants the government to torture terrorists or anyone that possesses information that can harm millions of people, but the government will not be able to do that because the government can possibly make the mistake of picking up someone that fits the description of the terrorist it might be looking for.
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