Can it ever be legitimized? A hypothetical case always cited is that of the captured bomber who has killed once and set other bombs to go off shortly. Do you question him politely or torture him so as to uncover and disarm the bombs?
This defense of torture is specious. First, the bomber caught between bombings is rare indeed. Second, the core of the argument is that, at least in some cases, torture is necessary to win the war. Yet plenty of wars are lost by sides that torture.