War can be justified. What about torture?

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(UNDATED) While elected officials and cable-news pundits have been debating whether torture of suspected terrorists is effective, legal or constitutional, a moral question has loomed in the background: is torture ever justified? Most Americans say yes. A Pew Research Center survey of 742 Americans in April found that 71 percent believe torture of suspected terrorists […]

  • Stanley Johnsen, MD

    Ethical discussion frequently comes down to words used. Is something enhanced interogation or torture. Certainly if physical harm such as intentional broken bones, pulled out finger nails, burns, whippings, etc we all should agree that it is torture. What is currently under discussion is much less clear and much more political.

    I am suprised that you used Hiroshima as an example. The more I know about Japan at the time, the more I find it justified. However, Dresden fire bombing seemed totally unecessary and much more questionable, if not immoral. However a Dresden discussion does not appeal to anti-nuke folks.

    Should Bill Clinton be prosecuted for the about 500 innocent non combatants that died in Serbia during US bombing that was intented to produce regime change? In enhanced interogation (torture as you put it) no one died and many may have lived as a result. I disagreed with Clinton in Serbia, but I would feel it very wrong to prosecute him, as I think it would be wrong to perseverate on these issues that are focus of your discussion.