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The question may be misleading as it has been framed because it appears to separate the political from the moral and ethical dimensions of torture. The discussion, in as much as it was addressed by Ms Tippet and Mr. Rejali, pertains almost entirely to political torture, and in my opinion if torture is political it is definitionally immoral.

There are, however, perfectly moral, ethical and even fruitful uses for torture qua torture, if we can agree that torture is the deliberate infliction of pain by one person empowered to do so on another person.

Torture in a political context emerges fundamentally out of disagreement, meaning there's a lack of ascent by one person to another's position. In order to come to agreement various morally tenable conventions abound, such as debate, polling, drawing straws, etc. What makes these options moral is that the participants consent first to the ground rules for determining the contest, which is what I believe Mr. Rejali might call the "public trust". What makes torture political is precisely this lack of consent, this violation of trust.

In instances where one person inflicts suffering on another who has consented to the experience reasonable people may disagree about whether this constitutes torture, but the suffering is no less genuine and may in fact be more effective with respect to desired results. Certainly many athletic contests entail the deliberate infliction of pain - take boxing as a ready example. But just as certainly there are people of sound mind and strong body who employ physical suffering in its sensual mode, and many more who do so as a means of spiritual discipline. Common to all these varieties of intentional suffering is trust - a boxer does not think that his opponent intends him no harm, but he does have faith that the limits of the harm have been agreed upon and will be honored. Violation of that trust generally means forfeit of the game.

The fallacy of political torture is not merely that the results are demonstrably unreliable; it includes the conceit that torture's "rightness" is determined by its utility - if the torture of the prisoner prevented the bombing of the orphanage then it could be said to be ethical. Indeed no orphanages may be lost in this calculation, but the integrity of the public trust, and in the case of the US, the consent of the governed, has been devastatingly debased. Absent the integrating effects of consent, government by, for and of the people is as hollow a construct as any of the failed experiments preceding it. Just because we are now clever enough to to avoid the referee's notice does not mean nothing is forfeit; cancer can be just as lethal as a knife attack. The former is a lot harder to see coming, but that doesn't make it worth having for a crack at avoiding the latter.

It's unfortunate that we get caught up in the more media-genic details of how what was done to whom (it's easy to find how-to videos on waterboarding), rather than who we become and what we lose when we abide political torture.