From Gary Kamiya at Salon here. Read the whole article.
As Shue suggests, the "ticking bomb" situation should be left in the classroom, for ethicists and philosophers to ponder. It has nothing to do with the real world. And those who invoke it are leading society down a fatal slippery slope, which ends with the wholesale justification of torture. Their arguments, which appeal to and are based in fear and anger, not considered analysis, would return us to the Middle Ages. . . .
Torture is not morally justifiable. In addition, it has severe negative consequences. Once a nation embraces torture, it forfeits any claim to a moral high ground. It becomes no better than those it is fighting. It may win a battle, but it will lose the war. As America struggles to win hearts and minds in the Arab/Muslim world, the use of torture is more harmful in the long run than any "high-value" intelligence gained by its use. And U.S. torture not only builds hatred in the Muslim world, it turns our allies against us -- and erodes us from within. As historian Horne pointed out, "When the news came out in France of what the army was doing, it caused such a revulsion that it led directly to the French capitulation. And not only revulsion in France, but revulsion here. JFK, as a senator, took up the Algerian cause quite strongly partly because of the human rights issue." Horne's conclusion: "I feel myself absolutely clear in my own mind that you do not, whatever the excuse, use torture, let alone abuse." . . .