Torture is a bad thing.
This isn't failsafe, but a good way to judge whether something is, generically "good" or "bad" is to do the would-I-want-that-shit-to-happen-to-me test. Torture fails, and pretty much across the board. The amount of good intelligence gathered from torturing someone is absolutely beside the point. Again, we're asking the wrong fucking question. Who cares if "torture led to Bin Laden"? But to fall prey to another rhetorical seduction, I'll explore it a tiny bit.
Not all intel gathered from torture can be bad:
This fails the bullshit test. If this is true, than SOME of the people tortured in the dark ages MUST have been flying around on brooms.. Or maybe it's that the only real use of torture is to force someone to admit something the torturer already knows (before these people were tortured into "admitting" whateverthefuck crazy shit they were admitting, the torturer had already decided they were guilty, and the 'crime' was quite specific). If the torturer doesn't know exactly what information is to be gathered, then there's no real way to detect lie vs. reality. Quick example:
Joe Patriot: "Tell me where Usama is, or I'll smash your balls!"
Freedom Hater: "No, Never!"
Joe Patriot: "I am serious, I will smash your balls, but I've got to work my way to your freedom hating seed from your freedom hating fingers!"
Freedom Hater: "OK OK, He's in Pennsylvania"
Joe Patriot: "You're lying! I know he can't be in Pennsylvania!"
Freedom Hater: "You're right, he's in the big house just outside of Khan Abu ar Rayat, near 'highway' 12 in Iraq!" (Randomly zoomed in on a spot with google maps).
Joe Patriot: "Thanks you piece of shit!"
Now, Mr. Hater has bought himself some time, and can easily work his way out of the lie (Doesn't matter if it's a lie, or if it's just completely random) with statements such as "He must have moved" (I mean, who could argue with that? It's highly plausible that living things that are not plants would move).
Now if Mr. Patriot already KNOWS where Bin Laden is hiding, and already knows that Mr. Hater ALSO knows (heh), he can successfully torture him for that information, but this is completely stupid, and by any rational standard can be considered a fucking terrible thing to do.
The REAL purpose of torture is, has always been and will always be to exact some kind of personal revenge, or to pacify some kind of bloodlust. Neither of these have a place in any modern society. Plus: what's the point of making pro-human laws if you only arbitrarily follow them? (This argument also does well with god-miracles vs. reality).
**Edit: the spaces in the dialog used less than and greater than < > but I forgot to use HTML elements (GOOGLE: FUCKING FIX THAT!) so they're gone, but use your torturous imagination.