Somewhere along the path leading from wars inAfghanistan and Iraq a concept emerged which allows democratic societies to justify the use of torture on captured prisoners. Men like Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were insistent the lives of Americans always took precedence over roughing up some terrorist. Sir John Sawer, head of British secret intelligence, MI6, although insisting his group did not torture anyone, admitted such behavior might occur. “Suppose we received cedible inteligence that might save lives, here or abroad. We have a professional or moral duty to act on it. We will normally want to share it with those who can save those lives.” OK, so “those” folk some waterboarding or pull out nails or beat the heck out of someone, this behavior is only done in the name of “saving lives.”
This is the infamous “ticking bomb” theory which argues there is an atomic bomb ticking away in Los Angeles and the guy we are questioning knows its location. Exactly how many times has this scenario ACTUALLY occured? It is rare. During WWII when millions of lives were effected torture was NOT the norm among Allied intelligence officers. It is not a question of torture or not torturing, the issue is– how best to obtain information? The overwhelming evidence is that torture is an INEFFECTIVE strategy.