A:     As if them torturing people wasn’t enough, the former administration is coming out in defence of the “advanced interrogation techniques”. Dick Cheney even said that they “were effective” and that he would “do it again in a minute” if he had to. Disgusting. He should be on all fours begging for our forgiveness, not boasting about it.   

S:     I know; it made me cringe. As much as I dislike these immoral cretins and their lackeys in Fox News, I do see where they are coming from.

A:     Please Sadiq, stop! I know you love playing the devil’s advocate to rile people up, but can you for once take a principled stance, and not show off how clever you are.

S:     I have taken a principle stance; I completely stand against any sort of torture. All I’m saying is that I understand why Dick Cheney is saying what he is saying. That under some circumstances torture might lead to results. Although the human cost outweighs any benefit we might get.

A:     NO! There is no benefit to gain from torture, none whatsoever. Give me your ‘arguments’ so I can lay them to rest once and for all.

S:    As you wish. Look, if you catch a member of any criminal organisation, getting him to give up information on his accomplices and organization is difficult; impossible, if it is a radicalised ideological one. A degree of physical and psychological pain, and the knowledge that the procedure will continue indefinitely will cause him to reconsider. We basically do the same in normal criminal procedures on a lesser scale. We lock them up in solitary confinement for weeks, threaten them with long sentences and even man-handle them once in a while.  

A:     Yes, what a brilliant comparison; man-handling and water-boarding are not the same, they are not even on the same scale. There is a difference between torture and procedural discomfort. And as for the ‘vital information’, it will still be practically useless. The victim will say anything he thinks the torturer wants to hear to ease the pain; there is no guarantee that he is telling the truth. Even if he is, you would have to independently verify everything he has said, making the exercise pointless.

S:     But there might be a hint in his information, some clue you can utilize.

A:     And in that hope you will continue to torture him till he gives you that? There is no end to the process, unless the victim dies or goes insane.