I agree with the author Michael Levin on his views about torture. It is generally assumed that torture is impermissible. I believe this attitude is unwise. There are many situations in which torture is mandatory. .
In the case of 911 in which two terrorists hijacked two planes and flew into the World Trade Center killing over two thousand people, injuring thousands more, devastated the entire city, families of the victims, children who lost their mothers and fathers. Companies closed or relocated, many people lost jobs. We all lived in fear of what would happen next. The whole country has been effected.
What if we knew where one of the two terrorists where before the hijacking, and he knew where the other terrorist was, but would not talk. Surely we can, we must, do anything to the terrorist to save thousands of lives who never asked to be put in danger.
Torturing the terrorist is unconstitutional? Probably, but millions of lives surely outweigh constitutionally. Torture is barbaric? Mass murder is far more barbaric. If you caught the terrorist, could you sleep nights knowing those millions died because you couldn't bring yourself to apply the electrodes?.
What if a group of terrorist planted bombs on all of the bridges in New York? They were to go off at rush hour. They located the terrorists before they deactivated, but they would not speak until their demands were met (or they can, we refuse to set a precedent by yielding to his threats). What if a terrorist planted a bomb in the stadium on the day of the World Series or the Super Bowl? This is more barbaric to let thousands die because torture is unconstitutional.
I am not advocating torture as punishment; rather I am advocating torture as acceptable measure for preventing future evils. But torture, in the cases described, is intended not to bring anyone back but to keep innocents from being dispatched.
Once you concede that torture is justified in extreme cases, you have admitted that the decision to use torture is a matter of balancing innocent lives against the means needed to save them.