Is Torture Justifiable?



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The 24 Concept of Torture

I can't say, that if I knew with certainty, that there was a ticking time bomb threatening tens or hundreds of thousands; and I knew, with a high degree of certainty, that I had a person in custody who had knowledge of the whereabouts or other significant information related to said device; and I knew time was short (not allowing for the more reasonable and lengthy methods of interrogation), I might be tempted to get a little rough with my subject. Right or wrong, if I had to make the decision in minutes, given the conditions stated above, that might be the decision I would make. I suspect there have been times with intelligence operatives in the field might have had to make such calls.

That would/should be a "one-off," and something I should understand is pushing, if not exceeding the bounds of legality and morality. That would be something I should have to weigh in making the decision on how to act in a very tightly defined set of circumstances. (The old Spockism from The Wrath of Kahn..."the needs of many outweighs the needs of the one.")

For me, the biggest problem here is that we didn't set torture aside as the exception, the possible last resort. We made torture a doctrine, a standard operating procedure. And we did it knowing, based on all credible expertise, that information gathered would have little to no value. So we created this doctrine of acceptable torture for no reason other than providing red meat for the lions. I can't tell you how disgusted I've become with many a facebook "friend" who claimed it was perfectly fine given how these "Muslims" treated our troops, and how they attacked us, so that "making them a little uncomfortable" is OK.

So, now we've normalized torture as a tool, a's no longer torture, but just making some really bad people (who haven't even been judged as "bad" by a court of competent jurisdiction) "uncomfortable. And we've decided it doesn't matter if the intelligence gathered has no value, it's just OK to make them "uncomfortable" because we don't like them.

I fear we have, as a society, crossed a line from which we may not be able to come back.

BJohnM more than 7 years ago


Torture is barbaric and inconsistent with what I hold to be American values. BTW David Petraeus is not the CIA Director. John Brennan is.

Kevin more than 7 years ago