That’s the term I’ve seen describing the type of occurrence where coercive means may be necessary to extract information from someone in American custody as part of the war on terror (should that be capitalized as a title, what will historians call the war we are now fighting?) I cannot say with any authority whatsoever if torture is an effective interrogation method and I won’t argue with experts on either side.
I can say that as a general principle, torture is evil. I am not saying that evil methods must never be used to defeat greater evils. I am simply suggesting that before we the righteous unleash evil, we make the decision to do so with great care. The Administration argues that they need leeway in the case of a ticking time bomb. In a war, I will not argue against using psychologically coercive means to extract information from our enemies. I will argue that physical torture should always be against the laws of a just and right nation. If the situation is truly a ticking time bomb and physical torture is the most effective and expedient way of saving lives, citizens and soldiers of just nations will do what they must. Ideally (as if there can be an ideal set of circumstances in any of this), if it is important enough for those we empower to violate basic principles of humanity, then they should be willing and able to defend themselves in a fair and non-partisan process through our civilian and military justice systems.