This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

Blondin's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Blondin

Bananas.

My problem with Sam's position is that I don't understand how you can ever be sure that you actually have a genuine 'ticking bomb' situation where the victim of the torture really does have information that needs to be revealed immediately to prevent an atrocity yadda yadda... until after the fact.

I understand that he is only proposing that it would be ethical in the most extreme circumstances but whose judgement would you trust to decide when that is the case? If an interrogator decided to torture information out of a terrorist and that information turned out to be false who do you punish - the terrorist or the interrogator? What if it turns out there was no ticking bomb? What if it turns out the terrorist was not who or what you thought he was?

It's all very well to discuss scenarios where, with hindsight, we can know that a disaster could have been prevented had somebody been tortured, but how often is that likely to be genuinely foreseeable and who do you trust to make that call?

If you're going to allow anybody to make that call then, when enemy interrogators apply the exact same logic, I guess you just have to consider your tortured operatives collateral damage.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 18:33:31 UTC | #620750