This is an immensely interesting story in the New Yorker about changing attitudes to torture in American popular culture and perception. It's centered around the tv show 24. Surprise, surprise: the creator's a friend of Rush "slightly to the right of Hammurabi" Limbaugh and Ann "bomb the Arabs and convert them to Christianity" Coulter. Also, 24 is being watched by the director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, who thinks it "reflects real life", and credible links are made to Karl Rove and two members of the Vice-President's immediate family: his wife and daughter. There's a solid argument here that 24 is certainly influenced by and almost certainly influential of the US public policy on terror. Which is great, right? Tough guys doing tough things to get the Truth? Sure, except not. Obvious answer why: it's fiction.
Anybody who still thinks that torture would be okay in that one situation where there this guy, see? And he's a terrorist, and, and, he has this, like nuclear bomb, right? And we know that it's somewhere in New York City? And we only have twentyfour hours to get the bomb, and we know this guy knows where it is, and the clock is ticking, so we get our guys to like, torture him, right? I mean, not because they like it or anything, just because it has to be done, right? Under those circumstances, think torture is basically okay. You know, to protect your loved ones. And freedom and democracy. You should read this article. Or if you're just one of the absurd people who think that the Bush government torture policy (which by now can no longer be denied) is just fine and dandy, you should read this article.
Shorter version: torture is wrong, torture doesn't work, the ticking time bomb never happens. Also: torture is really bad for public relations and emboldens our enemies.