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January 31, 2013

Slate: The case for torture

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Second, it's possible to partially dehumanize people — in this case by treating them as library assets — while still drawing up rules to limit your exploitation of them.

Third, those rules are constantly at risk, because you always have an incentive to leave loopholes so you can instill fear.

Fourth, the right question to ask about enhanced interrogation isn't whether people lie under torture but whether using torture to train human beings in obedience is wrong despite the payoffs.

Fifth, instead of congratulating ourselves for shutting down the detention program, we should ask whether its closure is leading us to kill people we might otherwise capture.

And sixth, even when we decide that brutal interrogation methods are justified, it's always important to specify the reasons and acknowledge the costs, so that the brutality expires when the reasons no longer suffice.

Saletan (@saletan) covers science, technology and politics for Slate.

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