Former US Vice-President, Dick Cheney reopened the debate on torture on Sunday during an interview on ABC news.
Here’s an extract from the transcript of the interview:
CHENEY: I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques that…
INTERVIEWER: And you opposed the administration’s actions of doing away with waterboarding?
Waterboarding is classed as torture according the UN Convention on torture.
But according the results of this poll conducted only a few months ago, some Americans think torture is sometimes justified.
Those polled wanted to use waterboarding or other torture techniques to extract more information from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – the would-be underwear bomber.
It’s a story that’s crossed over the Atlantic and is being reported in the African press.
Liz Cheney supports her father’s arguments. In a television interview she said: ‘These “interrogation methods” kept us safe — and that’s all the justification they need.’
Her views are shared by one poster at the bottom of this article in USA Today.
The ticking time bomb example is often used to justify the use of torture for the greater good.
But commentators like Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post have argued that the the reasoning of saving other lives for the greater good is simply wrong.
In a TV debate with Liz Cheney, Robinson argued:
‘Efficacy isn’t the only thing we should be talking about here. We should also be talking about legality. We should be talking about whether what was done was legal. If I rob a bank and get away with it, there’s a lot of efficacy there, but it’s not legal.’
Likewise, this Christian blogger who thinks torture is never justified.
On safety grounds, is torture ever justified? If you knew torture was sanctioned by governments would you feel safer? Or is it always wrong, no matter what the circumstances are?