Accepting the “after 9/11 was extraordinary” argument for torture would then justify torture in any more dire situation — such as invasion by a foreign army or outright war. It would therefore justify torture (say) of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, or in any war. It would make war crimes, in time of war, legal. It is a contradiction in terms.
There was a good article in the NY Times about foreign policy upholding dictators and murderers. This may sound impossible; but this restriction does not apply to the sins of others. Imagine if one could get this sort of honesty in one’s own country.
“Woe to you… hypocrites that you are! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are filled with the results of greed and self-indulgence… First clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside may become clean as well.”
– Matthew 23:25-6