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Why Not Torture Terrorists?Moral, Practical, and Legal Aspects of the "Ticking Bomb" Justification for Torture$
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Yuval Ginbar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199540914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540914.001.0001

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Part II—Conclusions

Part II—Conclusions

(p.157) 10 Part II—Conclusions
Why Not Torture Terrorists?

Yuval Ginbar

Oxford University Press

This chapter concludes the discussion of the ticking bomb question as one of public, practical morality. Introducing torture into the interrogation rooms of modern democracies is fraught with dangers of torture expanding beyond the confines of a ticking bomb situation (TBS), in particular in view of fears of ‘mega-terrorism’ such as nuclear attacks, and its effects reaching far beyond the immediate context, reversing the means-end relationship between citizen and state which is at the foundations of democracy and leading to ‘no holds barred’ wars in which terrorists thrive. States introducing or maintaining a minimal absolutist prohibition on torture may thus not be able to guarantee us absolute safety from terrorists, but no torturing state has been able to do that either, and we will at least be absolutely safe, in this respect, from abuse by our own state.

Keywords:   moral philosophy, minimal absolutism, torture, practical aspects, slippery slope arguments, slippery surface arguments, democracy, terrorism prevention, institutionalization, war on terror

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