torture

Reinhold Niebuhr once broke with the editor of this magazine to argue that moral responsibility requires resisting evil with force. It’s a compelling argument, but it doesn’t justify torture.
January 5, 2015

Some people see violence as an absolute wrong. Others see it as a sometimes necessary evil, with considerable variation as to just how often these times come up. I’m at the dovish end of the latter group: I believe that there are times—not many, not remotely as many as American foreign policy consensus or law enforcement norms would have it, but some times—when a violent action might be the least-bad available option. But a necessary evil isn’t a virtue; “least bad” doesn’t mean “good.”
December 15, 2014

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