so what if torture works?

I’ve seen most of Zero Dark Thirty, the movie that claims to tell the story of the search for and killing of Bin Laden. It’s a pretty gruesome film, with clear implications that torture led to information that led us to Bin Laden. There are fierce debates about whether that fact – that torture led us to Bin Laden – is true or not. Almost every time torture is discussed, the discussion quickly shifts to one side saying “see, it’s effective!” and the other saying “it doesn’t even work!”

Here’s a simple question I don’t hear asked all that often: who cares if it works? It’s simply wrong. If “it works!” is our only criteria, then forget the Rule of Law. Many lives would be saved if police could willy-nilly enter anyone’s home and search their belongings, because some of those folks are probably murderers that we can’t catch if we strictly follow the rules. We could have captured all of Bin Laden’s extended family and tortured them, publicly threatening him to surrender. That might have worked. Especially if we did it to his kids. Especially the young ones.

What is wrong with the world when we even consider this most extreme version of the ends justifying the means?

Torture is wrong. Period. Even if it works.

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