Campus Comment: Is torture justified if it means access to valuable information?

(M Shults)

Shawn Heavlin-Martinez

Saddleback College students were asked, “Recently, President Obama released CIA memos detailing interrogation techniques that included beatings, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding. Ex-Bush administration officials say that these techniques yielded valuable information. Is torture justified if it means access to valuable information?”

“It’s a tough question. I guess it’s fine if it works. If it gets the job done, you know? Maybe if we make it less harsh on the prisoners. We have to get this information somewhere.”

—Oliver Burchill, 19, undecided

 “On one hand, I’m going to say yes, because it’s one of those things where it’s ‘harm one, save one thousand.’ I guess there are more horrific things we could have done to them. I’m not saying it’s justified but it could be worse.”

—Victor Chaparro, 23, business

 “I don’t think so. I think there are other ways to handle it. There’s always other ways to get information.”

—Orlando Williams, 22, kinesiology

 “It’s difficult, because if they didn’t harm anyone then they shouldn’t be tortured. But if they are guilty, if they have killed other people, then it might be justified.”

—Lauren Rosen, 19, undecided

“It depends on what kind of torture. It all depends on what your interpretation of torture is. Sometimes you need to cause pain to one person to prevent the suffering of thousands.”

—Tyler Brown, 19, business management

“I don’t think they should have released the memos in the first place. But I think it’s important to remember that the people we’re doing this to are terrorists. They’re not exactly innocent. It shouldn’t continue, but I don’t think the operatives who did it should get in trouble.”

—Andrew Moore, 20, business management

Oliver Burchill

Victor Chaparro

Orlando Williams

Lauren Rosen

Tyler Brown

Andrew Moore