In 1940 the Germans did not posses weapons of mass destruction. President Bush did not know the capabilities of al-Qaeda and their potential to use WMD against targets in the USA. The events of 9-11 had given ample notice of the willingness of terrorists to use any weapons at their disposal. London and Madrid are additional examples of the desire of Muslim terrorists to engage in mass murder.
In addition, in 1940 the prisoners in British hands were soldiers captured while in uniform. Using torture against them would have yielded unimportant information, and would have invited retaliation against captured British soldiers in German camps. No such fear of retaliation exists today. American prisoners in the hands of al-Qaeda or the Taliban are brutally executed, regardless of our behavior or methodology of interrogation.
During World War II, the British knew the locations of German bases, spies were providing information about invasions, the Allies knew the positions of troops and eventually Enigma was decoded. Thus, ordering torture of prisoners would have been unnecessary and counterproductive. I have no doubt that, from what I know about Churchill, had he faced the type of enemy we are facing today, he would have used any means at his disposal to extract information from captured prisoners. Of course, not using torture, but enhanced interrogation techniques. Waterboarding is such a technique.
In conclusion, since Obama has become such a fan of Churchill, he should pay heed to three of his quotes:
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
There is no such thing as a good tax.