Torture Paper

This essay has a total of 700 words and 3 pages.


Ronald D. Cretlinsten contends that torturers acquire the ability to cope with the moral
dilemmas of inflicting pain upon and murdering their fellow humans primarily through the
processes of "routinization" and "dehumanization", and also through the notion of
"authorization" (191). With such as the case, an individual adept in the art of torture
would necessarily have learned to be cruel, however, that argument neglects the very
reality that many engaged in such activities are intrinsically perverse, and in fact
willingly and happily do harm to others.

The prevalence of torture throughout the world can be accounted for in part by the process
of "routinization" in which a regime, in essence, desensitizes a given torturer to the
atrocities that he is committing in its name. In such a process "what is being done to
someone transforms into what is being done: information gathering" (191). The task of
amassing information and confessions eclipses the reality in which the torturer lives;
this is achieved through peer pressure from fellow torturers "to be a man", by intense
physical and emotional training, and through the employment of propaganda claiming that
the torturer is fulfilling his duty and doing the right thing as his victims are immoral
enemies of the state (192). In short, the torturer becomes disoriented and unable to
decipher the actuality of his existence. This disorientation is caused by repetition, or
"habituation", in addition to the development of the "task-oriented frame of mind";
according to one Chilean ex-torturer ". . . after . . . not wanting to . . . but wanting
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