Water-boarding is against International law. We executed Japanese for water-boarding after WW11.
If you can find a reason to rationalize torture then understand they can find reason to torture you. How far back into the Dark Ages do really want to go?
It does tend to end up in a discussion of the protection of the individual over that of society. As such, I find it to be a question that is better suited to answer how someone stands in that continuum than anything else.
If someone can say it's never, ever, under any circumstance one can think of, permissable, it seems naive to me.
C'mon. We don't need further justification to torture US politicians. ;)
But in seriousness, a hypothetical which isn't all that removed from the real world.
Let's say you are on a plane and get hijacked and the hijacker gets overpowered. He then says that you are still not safe because he's hidden a bomb on the plane. After extensive questioning and search you cannot find it.
What would you do?
And that happens how often?
Someone willing to die violently for some idealogical cause hides a ticking time bomb (I can't say enough how ridiculous these contrived scenarios are). You think you can torture them and get correct, actionable information from them in time to dismantle a bomb set to go off shortly?
And even if there was nothing you could do but beat the ever loving hell out of the guy, that still is not a decent argument for making torture official policy. It is just violent fantasy.
Hijackings happen. Overpowering hijackers in flight is not normal, but has occured (Flight 93). Hijackers hiding boms on planes have occured (Lockerbie). Hijackers not being forthcoming is an assumption.
It hasn't happened yet, but it's far from unrealistic as all the elements are plausible. Actually very plausible post Flight 93.
I don't think I'd care about information gathered from torture generally being unreliable if I can see my unevitable doom. I'll attempt any far fetched solution, possibly including jumping out of the plane in flight.
No, no, I am not saying that hijackings don't happen. The contrived scenario you described has never happened. And it is likely to never occur in our lifetimes. To use it as a basis for policy is wrongheaded.
And I wouldn't begrudge panicked passengers, but policy is not decided in such a state for good reasons. Since we, as rational and calm people, do care about information being accurate, we should fashion our methods to reflect that rather than cave in to impulse.