THE ASSUMPTIONS DICTATE THE CONCLUSION
The Republicans and the right wing (and some Democrats) argue that it is proper and should be legal to torture a Prisoner of War in the event of a "Ticking Bomb" Scenario.
This is the "Ticking Bomb Scenario" as defined by the Republicans:
1. The Prisoner of War is believed to be a member or supporter of, or otherwise associated with, the Enemy.
2. Because of the Prisoner of War's alleged membership in, or support of, or association with the Enemy, the Prisoner may have valuable information about a planned attack by the enemy -- possibly a planned imminent attack by the Enemy.
3. The Prisoner has been repeatedly questioned, and denies any association with the Enemy, and/or denies having any information about a planned attack by the Enemy.
4. If the Prisoner was tortured, and if the torture was so severe and painful and terrifying that the Prisoner believed he or she was about to die, and if the Prisoner was associated in some manner with the Enemy, and if the Prisoner had valuable information about a planned attack by the Enemy, then the Prisoner would be more likely to disclose any such information he or she had.
5. If information was obtained about a planned attack by the Enemy, then it might be possible to use that information to stop the attack or otherwise prepare for it and save lives.
Here's the fraud in that argument: the assumptions dictate the conclusion that torture is always permissible. If we accept the Republican position, it means all Prisoners of War may be tortured -- even the children.
By definition, all Prisoners of War are alleged to be members or supporters of, or otherwise associated with, the Enemy. That is by definition. In fact, they might be a part of the Enemy or they might be a civilian who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. They might be trained assassins or secret agents or spies, or school children or secretaries or farmers.
Because there are no trials, no witnesses, no peacetime tribunals in which to hear and adjudicate criminal charges, no attorney to represent the Prisoners, who they are and what they may or may not have done cannot be reasonably established. They have not been tried and found guilty of anything. (That is one of the reasons all countries agree that Prisoners of War may not be tortured or punished: they haven't been found guilty of anything.)
By definition, all Prisoners of War, because they are allegedly associated with the Enemy, might have information about a planned attack by the Enemy.
Therefore, the logical conclusion of the Republican's argument is that all Prisoners of War might have valuable information about an imminent attack, and therefore they should be tortured, and that torture should be legal.
This Republican argument is a fraud because it is intended to deceive the public. It postures as a patriotic desire to protect the country, but in fact it is simply the cheap peddling of the tools of dictatorships everywhere -- the claim that the "rulers" are always allowed to torture anyone, without legal consequences.
Civilized nations agree that torture is never appropriate. Anyone who engages in torture must be criminally charged and tried and, if found guilty, punished according to law. Prisoners of War, in particular, are entitled to the complete protection by the government that has taken them prisoner. This is an accepted standard of conduct for all nations of the world, and the U.S. decision to simply break these laws because there were a bunch of sadists and monsters running these wars is appalling. One more thing: people that Bush and Cheney called "Enemy Combants" are really Prisoners of War, and are entitled to all the protections owed to Prisoners of War anywhere in the world.