Using information gained from detainees, the US...
· In 2002 disrupted a scheme of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad (9/11 mastermind, aka KSM) to attack West Coast targets with hijacked airplanes
· In 2003 derailed another KSM-plot involving hijacked airplanes, this one directed against Heathrow Airport
· In 2003 began an investigation that culminated in the capture of Hambali, leader of Jemaah Islamiyah and al Qaeda’s representative for South Asia
· In 2003 arrested Iyman Faris, who was involved in a plan to destroy New York’s Brooklyn Bridge
· In 2004 broke up a planned attack against urban targets in the UK
Interrogation is useful. Whether or not the methods used above amounted to “torture” is irrelevant. The point is that they were used for the advancement of policy—in this case, the suppression of terrorism—and were neither aimless nor indiscriminate.
What I am still waiting to hear is an argument why torture/interrogation is bad (assuming, of course, that the underlying policy is just, which most people take counterterrorism to be).
Is it because it’s “uncivilized?” Suffusing people with shrapnel seems also somewhat uncivilized, yet this is legitimate in war. Is it because the international community says it’s unacceptable? Or is torture just plain wrong? Someone tell me.