Dershowitz misses a key point: Torture is incredibly ineffective as
an interrogation tool. Never having faced the reality of torture, too many Americans understand it through fictional stories
of tough cops or captured heroes.
Yet everything we know about the actual practice of torture shows
that it is extremely destructive for societies and completely ineffective for gathering reliable information from individuals.
In Northern Ireland, Britain used torture against Catholics who were never charged with crimes, worsening the conflict in
Israels past acts of torture have, according to outside monitoring
groups, never once stopped a single suicide bombing or other murderous attack.
South Africas use of torture completely destroyed the normal functioning
of their police forces, since they no longer had to bother gathering evidence to obtain convictions.
Americas prohibition against torture is fundamental to our civil society.
We cannot accept or tolerate a violation of this essential American value.
America has shown great strength and resiliency in the wake of Sept.
11, but fear can make people think the unthinkable. Having served hundreds of survivors of torture and victims of terrorism,
I can tell you that abandoning our principles will only make Americans
more fearful, knowing that the terrorists have created a panic that has cracked the foundation of our civility.