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Argument: Information acquired by torture cannot be relied upon

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Supporting evidence

  • Darius Rejali, author of "Torture and Modernity: Self, Society and State in Modern Iran," said his studies show that torture is ineffective as a tool for gathering information. "My position is there is no empirical evidence to suggest that this works, at least in the way that people claim that it does in the war against terrorism."[1]
  • Tom Parker, a fellow at Brown University, commenting on the PBS special "Is torture ever justified?". Retrieved 11.25.07. - "The German example involved a kidnapper motivated by nothing more consuming than financial greed. Terrorists are mostly cut from different cloth. They are usually hard men and women who believe strongly in what they are doing. Some embrace martyrdom. Not everybody talks, and even when they do, how sure can you ever be that under torture you got the right information? The subject just has to screw up his courage for one last lie at the end and he ensures payback. An attractive prospect for a torture victim.
So he sends you to the wrong place as the clock runs down or gives inaccurate information about how to defuse the device. The bomb explodes -- what do you do then? Torture him in retaliation pour encouragez les autres? Logic would suggest making an example of him so that the specter of torture is enhanced for the next occasion it is needed.
Torture does not guarantee success (just ask the Gestapo) but using it does guarantee that you will find yourself in some very unattractive company."
  • Rafe Colburn's weblog. "The Case Against Torture." April 2, 2007 - "The capture of the 15 British soldiers by Iran provides a tidy test case for torture apologists. The sailors have already confessed to trespassing in Iranian waters, even though I'm sure that most of them have no idea where they were in the Persian Gulf, exactly, when the Iranians picked them up."


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