The trouble with torture

Honestly don't know what I would do if I was a field commander.

My guts tell me that torture is wrong and that 99.9% of the time you don't do it.

But what do you do if the person you have in custody might have information that may save lives?

Suppose he knows where the cache of roadside bombs are hidden? Suppose she knows which apartment building has the communications headquarters that is directing rocket attacks? Suppose he knows the next time and place a bomb will go off in a crowded shopping mall? Suppose she knows where the car where the nuclear bomb is parked?

These kinds of issues face our soldiers and intelligence agents in the current climate of terrorism.

I got introduced to the TV show 24 while flying back from Geneva. They showed 3 episodes from season one. I eventually rented the DVDs to see the remaining episodes of that season.

I went on to view season two and decided to start watching 1/2 through the season with episode 13.

In the 9pm to 10pm episode, scenario #4 is played out.

In the story, a woman knows where the nuclear bomb is within Los Angeles. Tens of thousands of lives are a stake. She has been shot and wounded. To get information from her Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) doesn't give her any pain medicine. Later, he gives her a short acting mild pain killer and the woman feels better but eventually the medicine wears off and Jack again questions her. He places his hand on her wound so the pain is greater. Eventually, she tells him where the bomb is. Jack looks at her and trusts his intuition and realizes she is lying.

Is torture wrong in this situation? Is it always wrong? And if not always wrong, under what circumstances is it "okay"?

I don't have any answers and thinking about it is giving me a headache.