On the other hand, I have never thought that torture was a good thing. People did it, but that didn't mean that people should do it. And, while I don't believe that water boarding is the great evil that some do, I think it is unacceptable in these United States, or in black sites across the globe that are controlled by the United States.
So why are we so fascinated by Jack Bauer and "24"? Alex Beam, who I normally count on to be on the beam, has this to say about "24":
"24" is the repository of some of our most cherished illusions: that America is the only country that matters in the world; that cool guys on a mission don’t have to play by the rules, and the bad guys tend to have dusky skin and genocidal ambitions.The problem, for me, is that my most cherished illusions are that we are the "city on a hill", that we "play by the rules" and that eventually everyone will see it our way, at least to a large degree. Using torture is not part of that illusion.
One of the things about the Victorian Era that I like is that while they may have thought dirty thoughts, they were polite enough not to utter and display them in public. This had a certain calming effect, or so it seems to me. Put another way, the idea of doing something may flash through your mind, but actually breaking "the fingers of a recalcitrant civil liberties lawyer" should remain just an option and never an actuality.
Regards — Cliff