Chocolate and Gold Coins

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Torture the Torturers

This one won't win but I had fun writing it (9475):

Many argue that the war on terrorism requires that the U.S. should have a free hand in dealing with dangerous prisoners. Should we allow torture?

If we make torture legal, it is quite likely that the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) will misuse this privilege. How do we know when there is really a “ticking time bomb”?

How about if we allow torture under the condition that the SecDef would have to be tortured in the identical fashion? In a true “ticking time bomb” scenario, any patriotic SecDef would gladly suffer any torment to save the nation. If he dies, there are plenty of replacements.

As Prof. Alex Tabarrok (Marginal Revolution) points out:

“The torture victim faces incredible pain and perhaps death at the hands of his torturer. If these costs are to be born by the victim then we had better make damn sure that the benefits are also high and the only way we can do that is to make the torturer also bear some of the costs. Torture must not be cheap.”


  • Interesting take. Alan Dershowitz recommends torture that would hurt but not harm permanently and that has to be approved by a judge like a search warrant. So he would take responsibility (but not the pain).

    By Anonymous Canadian Headhunter, at 11:59 AM  

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