Inscribed in the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia are the words, "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) That phrase is very peculiar, particularly in the light of the recent U.S. Senate report on CIA torture practices. I'm not sure about the truth being found, but being free from prosecution seems to be a theme. In the 500-page-plus Senate document, the word “moral” appears five times while legal is referenced 564 times.
I never thought that we would ever be debating the merits of something so abhorrent as torture. What's next: Should those suspected of witchcraft be burnt at the stake? What about human sacrifice, maybe the Aztecs were on to something. Who cares if there is no evidence that it works, (just like torture) perhaps under the right circumstances, throwing someone into the volcano might actually bring security to us all.
I blame movies and TV in part for the fast tracking of torture. In film, we are often presented with an omniscient or a quasiomniscient viewpoint. Not only can you tell who the bad and good guys are, we know pretty much what they are up to as well.