For the discussion on torture in this, or any other democratic country, to ever be satisfactorily complete, the following conditions must be satisfied.
- We must be absolutely certain what we mean when we use the word “torture”.
- Once defined, we agree that we do not torture.
- The decision to reject torture does not depend upon the effectiveness of torture.
- We are prepared for the worst possible outcome of not using torture.
Any discussion that does not deal with each of these issues to their logical conclusion is incomplete and will only force us to repeat the past. We find ourselves playing word games, debating how flexible our morals are and at what point we would give them up. Rule #3 and #4 are especially difficult, but our constitution is strongest only if we stick with it in the worst of times.