Does torture work?
Beg pardon, but we have been asking the wrong question. What matters is not whether torture works. What matters is whether torture is right.
Consider: Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that drunk drivers kill almost 10,000 people a year. That’s three Sept. 11’s and then some. But if you wanted to stop that carnage, it would be simple. Just make drunk driving a capital crime with instant punishment. The evidence — blood alcohol levels — allows for scientific certainty of guilt, so there’d be no need of a long trial. We could execute the miscreants within a day.
Drunk driving would disappear. The new policy would solve the problem. It would work.
And if that were truly the ultimate rubric by which we decided a question, there could be no argument against it. But we won’t make drunk driving a capital crime for one simple reason.
It would be wrong. In fact, it would be repellent to our values, inconsonant with the kind of people we consider ourselves to be.
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