Although it seems awfully late in the debate, the Daily Dish defines torture:
Ahh, so if the captive starts talking it's torture. Helpful. My legal advice to his captors would be to clear the room if the captive clears his throat or otherwise appears to be about to speak.
Conversely, if I am hacking away with a chainsaw on some prisoner, I am quite sure I am guilty of torture, whether the poor fool cooperates or not, and regardless of this most excellent definition.
Well. As if by coincidence, the White House has seemingly decided that it is politically expedient to speak of "enhanced interrogation". It would be Orwellian if it were BushCo.
MORE SLOPPY THINKING: From the D Dish:
Zubaydah understood that torture is the imposition of sufficient physical or psychological pain or suffering to cause even religious fanatics, who believe their very souls are at stake, to have no choice but to submit.
Huh? "His soul is at stake?" The Zubaydah passage makes clear that a believer does not risk his soul by the act of cooperating with his captors; he risks his soul by cooperating without first resisting as best he can. Zubayadah is clearly not expressing any sort of "Death before dishonor" credo here.
Hence, the United States was not 'torturing' people to the point that they choose eternal damnation (or at least, non-salvation) over a continuation of the process. They were 'tortured' to the point that they could cooperate with a clear conscience, confident that their path to salvation still lay before them even though they had cooperated.
Which makes this next bit nonsense:
And so Western torture returns to its early modern roots: as a tool to prove that the power of government is greater even than the power of religious fanaticism, if you are prepared to treat the human body and soul as objects for total coercion and control. Begin with the inquisition and end with it; only now it is designed against Islamists, not heretical Christians.
PILING ON: There are four aces but only one Ace of Spades.