Feature

The morality of torture

The costs and benefits of banning harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding

“Abolishing torture will not make us safer,” said Richard Cohen in The Washington Post. But we should stop it anyway. “Before you can torture anyone, you must first torture the law. When that happens, we are all on the rack.”

It’s “not only wrong but irresponsible” to condemn enhanced interrogation techniques, said Peter Wehner in Commentary, without also considering the competing moral good of protecting our nation. Besides, waterboarding—“a very nasty technique to be sure”—is far more mild than “say, mutilation with electric drills" or rape.

Regardless, punishing the people who wrote and carried out the Bush administration interrogation policies would be “an egregious miscarriage of justice,” said Naomi Wolf in Britain’s The Guardian. “The fact that the Bush administration used torture” was far from a secret. “Lay the guilt where it belongs”—on all of us.

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