quote:"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.
quote:Some said that legal systems might do well to enforce anti-torture laws, even if it meant prosecuting rogue agents. "What if the guy is not the guy who's going to blow up Los Angeles? But some kind of innocent?" asked Lord Carlile of Berriew, a Welshman who acts as the independent reviewer of Britain's terrorism laws.
Torture can lead to false confessions, he said. "How do you protect that person's civil rights from the risk of very serious wrongful conviction?" But Lord Carlile, a barrister by training, added that he was also concerned with Jack Bauer's rights. "I'm sure I could get him off," he said.
Peoples' instinctive approval of Jack Bauer's methods illustrates a point I've been making for years: the ends do justify the means, and most people agree with me, even though they won't admit it.
The reason everyone always says that the ends don't justify the means is because people use rigged examples, where some individual uses a particularly horrendous means to achieve a dubious end.
But if you could save, say 1,000,000 lives by sacrificing just 1... most people instinctively agree that this means would justify that end.
It's really simple: you weigh the cost (ALL the costs) of a given action against all of the benefits, and if the benefits exceed the costs, then you know what needs to be done. It's why I would never make a blanket condemnation of torture. Whether it's right or not would depend on the circumstances. Torture to catch a drug dealer? Probably not a great idea. Torture to stop a nuke from blowing up New York? HELL YES...