"We are all opposed to torture, but there's some careful thinking that has to go on, ... Aggressive interrogation of enemy combatants, he said, is different than torture, and governed by international conventions.
Alan Wisdom, vice president for research and programs at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD)
Quote found here.
The reason I post this is for the promotion of truth. Alan Wisdom, as his name suggests, is one of the first I've seen to make this differentiation. I'm thankful for it as I believe this distinction to be both needed and useful in the debate, in crafting policy, and in providing protection for people in the future.
The Scripture makes it clear:
1. Rulers have the role and responsibility of protection.
2. If one wants to be free from fear of the one in authority, then they should do what is right.
3. Withholding information which can lead to or result in the unnecessary or unrighteous loss of life is wrong (/sinful) ... and should not only not be tolerated but the righteous have responsibility (when applicable) to do what is righteous and necessary to prevent such loss of life.
Even experience shows that motivations and purposes must be distinguished when judging a particular action. For example, one may cut the skin of a human either for the purpose of good or for the purpose of evil (for example - for a medical procedure or an assault). Likewise, when it comes to government practices, one must distinguish between the purpose and motivations behind the practice.
This being said, whether water-boarding should be an acceptable practice for interrogation is a good question for debate; however, to fail to distinguish between the same techniques as a practice of torture and as a tool for interrogation is to show lack of understanding.