How many of those who instantly become consumed with moral outrage when the word ‘torture’ is mentioned would personally resort to torture if the lives of their own loved one’s were about to be forfeit?
I'm guessing quite a few, although that's not a good argument in favor of allowing the use of torture. Many of us might resort to otherwise unthinkable actions to protect the lives of loved ones. That natural response isn't a good basis for national policy. But it does help put the moral outrage in perspective. The article has a much better argument for considering the use of torture:
Would I... sanction the use of torture to prevent the potential destruction of our cities and all who live in them? Of course I would - and I’d expect any Leader of any Party, no matter how much they personally abhorred the concept of torture, to put the safety of the nation and the lives of decent hardworking folk before their own selfish views.I'd put all sorts of caveats on that argument, but at its core it is very difficult to counter, except with moral absolutism or blind legalism, unless you pretend that torture can't possibly be effective.
Mass death and destruction by some terrorist group or another is going to happen. It’s only a matter of time. Somebody knows who and where these people are.Advise them of their rights and give them lawyers? That seems to be the answer of most torture opponents who think foreign terrorists deserve legal rights. Mr. Terrorist Leader is captured and we bring him in for interrogation, planning to use all of those great non-coercive techniques that some argue are way more effective than torture. And Mr. Terrorist leader says, "Screw you. I'm saying nothing. I want a lawyer." And he refuses to say another word. Then what?
What are you going to do if you catch one of them?