A few words about torture from somebody who would know. Major Matthew Alexander personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq:
The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology. It plays into the hands of al-Qa’ida in Iraq because it shows us up as hypocrites when we talk about human rights. People will only tell you the minimum to make the pain stop. They might tell you the location of a house used by insurgents but not that it is booby-trapped.
A key point:
It was the team led by Major Alexander [a named assumed for security reasons] that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learnt where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust.
But the fundamentalist Right just wants to keep on defending the indefensible (and calling for Dick Cheney to run for President in 2012!)