Uncle Jimbo over at Blackfive sums up the opinion of many – including myself – quite well when it comes to the moral obligations we have as citizens.
Go read the full post, but the following is a very good summation.
Khalid Sheikh Mohamed planned and executed the depraved and deadly attacks on 9/11 killing thousands. When we captured him, it was certain that he had knowledge that could help prevent future attacks. This presented us with a moral obligation to gain that knowledge. To fail to take steps, including waterboarding, that would lead him to tell what he knew would be a harm by omission. As a society we have determined that those who have committed certain evils, such as terrorism, can be executed, either as punishment, a deterrent to others or to ensure that they can never do such evil again. How can we then maintain that we should not pour water on the face of someone who has knowledge that can prevent future acts of mass murder? It is unfathomable. Even if you remove the idea that we sanction killing by the state, the failure to take forceful acts, not even rising to the level of torture, to save lives shows a lack of moral courage.
Now we have reached a point where we have told our enemies that we are not willing to actively interrogate them if they are captured. We have abdicated our responsibility to prevent evil and when future acts of terror kill innocents we are guilty for that failure.