Let's face it, expert interrogators can and WILL get the information they want. There's no denying they have various means and methods for them at their disposal.
Waterboarding, electrocution, etc...are only the tip of the iceberg here. There are even more effective (dare I say, even sinister) ways of extracting information. As Freeier said earlier,...those that encounter a high-degree of success with these methods won't necessarily reveal how they do it.
I don't condone torture, but let's look at the reality of the situation and examine each case's merits differently. If it is required under exceptional circumstances then I am all for it, for the greater good and for eliminating further damage and loss of life.
I love that so many people like to paint a scenario as unlikely or off topic if it actually raises serious questions about that person's previously stated opinions. Why can some people present scenarios and others can't?
Mat and Claire, what should we do then? Nothing? Do we just assume any information gleamed from a terrorist will be rubbish and so not even try to find out what they know?
Hence the relative inefficiency of torture.
"Given the many mechanisms for disengaging moral control, civilized life requires, in addition to humane personal standards, safeguards built into social systems that uphold compassionate behavior and renounce cruelty."
Moral Disengagement in the Perpetration of Inhumanities, Bandura A.: Personality and Social Psychology Review, Vol. 3, No. 3, 193-209 (1999)