As Richard Rorty and Judith Shklar, amongst many others, articulated: cruelty is the worst thing we can do.
As such, even a good liberal - who will otherwise tend to avoid moral certainties - can contend that torture is absolutely wrong.
By being absolutely wrong, this means that in all places and at all times there is no justification for torture.
There are no exceptional circumstances - no beneficial outcomes - which can justify its use.
This goes both for imaginary situations (the "ticking bomb" scenario beloved by first year philosophy students) and practical predicaments: torture is always wrong, whatever the "greater" suffering which could supposedly be avoided by its use.
However, it would appear that it is possible that the killing of Bin Laden was made possible by the use of information extracted by torture.
If this was the case, would that be an exception to the otherwise absolute rule?
Or are liberals bound to say that such torture should not have been used, even if it meant that Bin Laden would have stayed at large (as far as he could) and free to engineer another 9/11 or 7/7?
Is this a difficult real life counter-example?
Or can it be safely disregarded as an attack on the absolute principle that torture is wrong?
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