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Bryan Preston


writes as though the ticking time-bomb argument is something that I’ve introduced to the discussion about interrogation techniques. If hypothetical scenarios are as irrelevant as he suggests, his ire is better directed at the likes of Charles Krauthammer.

I’m not at all sure where the line should be drawn between permissible, though extremely tough, techniques and techniques that ought not to be used because they are immoral. It may be that what Preston calls “torture light” falls on the right side of that line. But the ticking time-bomb scenario tends to suggest that nothing in principle falls on the wrong side of the line: Anything necessary to extract needed information can be done. That doesn’t strike me as the way to start thinking about torture.


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