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Time to Think About Torture by Jonathan

Essay by pefell  •  September 11, 2018  •  Article Review  •  364 Words (2 Pages)  •  131 Views

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The article, “Time to Think About Torture,” is by author Jonathan Alter who holds a B.A. from Harvard University. Some major claims the author makes include keeping an open mind to torture and how torture could benefit American interrogations. While Alter makes a valid claim about how torture can have an impact on other countries and their investigations, he fails to provide restrictions or guidelines that would narrow down the broad topic of torture.

Toward the end of the article, the author suggests torture tactics and also implicates that torture could provide political advances by allowing America to further inquire while investigating suspects. Moreover, America is shown in comparison to Israel regarding negotiation tactics and the success of interrogation between the two countries. For example, Alter writes, “…we need to keep an open mind about certain measures to fight terrorism, like court-sanctioned psychological interrogation” (130). However, some alternatives to torture are present throughout the article. Alter talks about the use of truth serum and reveals a story of how Philippine police help aid in solving the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, a plan to crash 11 U.S. airliners, and to assassinate the pope, by convincing the suspect that the American government would deport him to Israel for further questioning if he did not participate. In Israel, there is such thing as a “torture warrant” (Alter 130), meaning that if a judge rules that torture is necessary by reviewing evidence, the individual can be subject to torture. Throughout the article, hints of how torture could be a benefit is shown with support from different scenarios, but the article also lacks statistical information which could help to strengthen the author’s claim.

The author uses his professional opinion and has a convincing group of examples. By mentioning four hijacking suspects at the beginning of the article, Alter grabs the reader’s attention by making his claim personal to the audience. However, America still does not believe in torture because it is against social, religious, and psychological beliefs held by the nation and its founding fathers.

Work Cited

Alter, Jonathan. “Time to Think About Torture.” Writing and Reading for ACP Composition. Comp. Christine R. Farris and Deanna M. Jessup. Print.



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