Re "Don't tell these guys torture's wrong," Opinion, May 18
Authorizing the use of torture in the "ticking bomb" scenario would not harm Western civilization. Our government routinely permits law enforcement officers to violate an individual's constitutional rights to serve justice.
A law enforcement officer may arrest an individual, or seize an individual's property, in carefully limited circumstances without prior judicial approval upon the officer's determination of "probable cause." In these instances, no one cries about the 4th Amendment being violated or Western values being denigrated. Assuming there is probable cause that a terror suspect is tied to an impending terrorist act, extending this principle to the ticking bomb scenario is emotionally uncomfortable but justifiable.
Comparing such circumstances with the Spanish Inquisition and the Khmer Rouge is unfair. Causing physical and mental anguish to save innocent lives is a moral decision, whereas torturing people simply because of their religious beliefs or their political allegiance clearly is not.