General David Petraeus wants congressional guidelines on how far one can proceed with “enhanced interrogation” methods if the suspect has information about a nuclear device set to go off any minute in some part of the United States. After all, on the TV show, 24, this was the weekly conundrum. Of course, we have yet to come across the famous time-sensitive situation, but there is always a first time. Sorry, General Petraeus, you are posing the wrong question. The correct question is: do we have evidence that torture works in such situations? The US was involved during World War II with fighting terrorists in Germany and Japan who were as fanatical or even more fanatical than so called Muslim terrorists who some believe must be tortured. There is no evidence from WWII that torture resulted in more information that normal interrogation procedures.
The main problem concerning “time-sensitive situations” is what happens if the person lies? Would any interrogator trust a man being tortured to tell the truth since his only concern is to end the torture?