Originally Posted by plaaynde
The answer to your question is to NEVER torture. It has dehumanizing effects on the whole society in addition to the suffering inflicted. Not a world I would like to live in. The society must not be as or more evil than the criminals.
Although I wouldn't put it in such hippy-dippy terms this poster has an important point.
One problem with trying to reduce moral questions to cost-benefit equations is you ignore that people and societies are defined and thus changed by their actions.
When a person or a society starts to sanction torture this is inevitably going to have psychological ripple effects on the individual/society and on the way the individual/society is viewed and treated by others.