It's easy enough to say that 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 but refuses to divulge the bomb's location. Does one honor the rule against torture, or use whatever methods it takes, including torture, to get information that will save millions of lives?Even in this case, there's no guarantee that torture will produce accurate information. But the argument remains—an undeniable good might be done for innumerable innocents at the expense of evil performed on a single evil one.
January 24, 2006