Friday, July 4, 2014

Did America Violate the Eighth?

     The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This quote explains a human right that is ‘guaranteed’ to everyone, regardless of crimes, by the United States of America. This right ensures that no one is ever punished in an unusual way, such as torture. However, the U.S. government has been suspected, and even found guilty, of unusual punishments and torture. An article on the StarTribune discusses issues surrounding Secretary Rice and a speech at the University of Minnesota. Rice has been known to discuss torture and the use of this interrogation method during Bush’s administration. Many human rights advocates criticized her and Bush’s administration for acknowledging the use of torture and other cruel punishments. Personally, I find the topic very interesting because it is so hard to define the difference in punishment and cruel punishment. Also, it is a very controversial topic because many times the government needs certain tactics to protect the nation. However, many of them are cruel, over the top, and just plain torture. These types of methods need to be stopped in order to protect the human rights of the individuals being interrogated. America is one of the most powerful and notable nations in the world. America is also known to be a nation that follows the rules and does the right thing, even when the issue does not involve them. This is where the Eighth Amendment creates a hypocritical situation. How can America go around telling other people that they are wrong and violating human rights, when it is breaking one in its own constitution? The answer is:  they cannot. It is not ethical of America to go around enforcing laws and protecting human rights, when it is breaking one as well. America needs to realize these methods are cruel and they need to stop. The StarTribune article concluded with the following statement: “The United States can regain its global leadership against torture, but we must first begin with the full knowledge and public acknowledgment of the mistakes of the past.” While it is impossible to erase the past, the U.S. government can change how it is today. The government has the choice to stop using the cruel practices and agree to follow the human rights laws they created for themselves. Human rights are such special and fragile ideas that need to protected, and most importantly, they need to be enforced. Especially when you wrote the right yourself….

Link to the article:

Goering, Curt. "Secretary Rice Should Explain Role in U.S. Torture." News,

Weather, Sports from Minneapolis, St. Paul and Minnesota. N.p., 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 04 July 2014. <>.

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