At last comes Ariel Dorfman with the Elephant-in-the-room point: Torture is wrong. It is wrong whether or not is instrumental, and it corrupts us to ignore or elide the point.
Here is Dorfman in a WP op ed yesterday:
I will leave others to claim that torture, in fact, does not work, that confessions obtained under duress ... are useless. Or to contend that the United States had better not do that to anyone in our custody lest someday another nation or entity or group decides to treat our prisoners the same way.
I find these arguments -- and there are many more -- to be irrefutable. But I cannot bring myself to use them, for fear of honoring the debate by participating in it.
Can't the United States see that when we allow someone to be tortured by our agents, it is not only the victim and the perpetrator who are corrupted, not only the "intelligence" that is contaminated, but also everyone who looked away and said they did not know, everyone who consented tacitly to that outrage so they could sleep a little safer at night, all the citizens who did not march in the streets by the millions to demand the resignation of whoever suggested, even whispered, that torture is inevitable in our day and age, that we must embrace its darkness?
Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this? Are we so fearful, so in love with our own security and steeped in our own pain, that we are really willing to let people be tortured in the name of America? ...
Exactly right. And way overdue. Dan Froomkin showcased his comments in "White House Briefing" today. Dorfman is on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" even now as I type. Would be nice to see him do an hour at Larry King.