Ann Applebaum’s claim in The Torture Myth is torture is ineffective and should be avoided at any cost. Not only does torture spoil the image of the United States as the guarantor of liberty and justice or endangers soldiers’ lives by evoking reciprocity on the part of the enemy, it simply brings no desired effect. Applebaum believes that accounts of successful tortures are nothing else but myths the society eagerly believes in. In reality, establishing rapport with a detained soldier would bring much more benefit. America’s ignorance of this fact and reliance on “special methods” has led to unsuccessful experience in Iraq. It proves to be self-defeating. To support her well-structured claim, Applebaum relies on accounts of high-ranking veteran officers of the U.S. Army, who participated in direct combat in Vietnam, Iraq, and Panama. They agree with the fact that torture is ineffective and counterproductive. Besides, she digs into historical examples of torture ineffectiveness which also prove convincing, in particular Applebaum’s reference to the war in Algeria, which was lost by France. Thanks to the credibility of her arguments, Applebaum has persuaded me 100 per cent that torture should be banned.

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William Buckley’s thesis is as follows: the day Americans will rethink their passivity and will start complaining about things that disturb them will be the day they will improve their lives and develop as a nation. Buckley’s argument is supported by a series of examples from his own life when he failed to make a complaint. On the one hand, acknowledging that he failed to do what he urges his audience to embark on helps the author create a bond with the reader. He is in the same situation as most of us and does not contrast himself to the audience. On the other hand, mentions of the facts where he failed to complain spoil the overall effect. If you, Buckley, failed, why shouldn’t we? To make the matters worse, his description of an attempt to complain (i.e. break the passivity) is unsuccessful – the man whom he wanted to lend him the instrument had a heart attack and was unable to move. Therefore, Buckley manages to convince me by the obvious rationality of his argument. Yet, his support is a bit weak.

  • Applebaum, Ann. “The Torture Myth.” The Washington Post. January 12, 2005. Web. October 31, 2013.
  • Buckley, William. “Why Don’t We Complain?” N.d. Web. October 31, 2013.