It’s easy enough to say torture is bad (though it took President Bush a while to do so). But how does one address this classic ethical dilemma: A nuclear bomb is ticking somewhere in an urban area. The bomb-setter has been captured by police but refuses to divulge the location of the bomb. Does one honor the rule against torture, or does one use whatever methods it takes, including torture, to extract information that could save millions of innocent lives?
Even in this case, there’s no guarantee that torture will produce accurate information. But the point remains—an undeniable good might be done for innumerable innocents at the expense of evil performed on a single evil one.