Tdaxp has an interesting post on the government use of torture here, to wit
My reply back to him mainly concerned, the subtile, which is The inside story of how the interrogators of Task Force 145 cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle—without resorting to torture—and hunted down al-Qaeda’s man in Iraq. The title’s odd in that it is both boring and inflammatory.
The boredom first. I can imagine an article subtitled The inside story of how programmers at Microsoft Corporation released SQL Server 2008 on time — and without using hash tables.
I’ve always found the specific opposition to torture strange. We’re willing to jail people for the rest of their lives, hold them without trial, and bomb various countries which involves inherent civilian death and maiming. Drawing a line at torture seems odd to say the least. I suppose to some people it is a categorical difference in government action, and not an incremental difference in human suffering.
Now that I think about it, it does make for a good Schelling Point. It is objectionable to differing degree to both sides of the argument, as well as obvious to both. It is also seen as a categorical tactic (though not strategy) by both. Hmmm….