One argument often used to support torture is that killing a combatant is worse than torturing them, so why not torture them?
It does seem straightforwardly true that being dead is as bad as it gets.
However, the argument (or intuition) fails on four counts.
Argument from Soul Liberty
First, killing a combatant actually honors his free will. He has chosen to take up arms and the minister of justice is honoring that choice by meeting him as he has chosen to be met.
Torture removes the internal free will of the combatant by forcing him to a mental submission that should not be in the power of humankind. We should allow his mental defiance, even if we cannot allow his physical defiance. In this way, we honor his reason (one aspect of the divine image), while also protecting the innocent.
Yes, if we ever got bin Laden into custody, the very last thing we should do is to subject to him to any interrogatory techniques, whether physical or psychological, which would in any way infringe on his freewill and thereby rob him of his “soul liberty.”
Given a choice, we must always protect the freewill of the terrorist rather than protect the lives of his innocent victims. In this way we “honor his reason.”