Defending the Obama approach to torture, Tom Friedman claims that 1) prosecuting the malefactors (up to and including George W. Bush) would “rip our country apart”; and 2) torturing was justified because only torture was capable of deterring al Qaeda, an enemy like no other we have ever had. The first claim is guesswork, but no doubt prosecuting the former president, if it came to that, would be a divisive undertaking. As to the second, however, it rests on an assumption for which Friedman makes not the slightest attempt to give evidence; namely, that the torturing actually did deter al Qaeda. The best evidence so far available is that not only did it fail to generate significant new, or otherwise unobtainable intelligence but also that it strengthened al Qaeda by helping recruit of new members. In short, Friedman’s deterrence argument is at best unproven, at worst nonsensical.