Any argument in defense of torture presupposes that it works. It does not, at least not if your goal is to gain actionable intelligence. This is the age of the suicide bomber. Once someone has vowed to surrender their very life to a cause, what does their comfort matter to them?
However, if your goal is perpetual war, torture is a great motivator to keep your enemy fighting. If Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban hired a top Madison Avenue public relations firm to craft a recruitment tool, they could not have come up with a better campaign than our own sad record of torture and human rights violations.
Torture is also a wonderful way to confirm information regardless of the facts. Jesse Ventura once said, "You give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders." So if you want to link Saddam Hussain to Al Qaeda and no actual evidence of such a connection exists, torture has you covered! After just a few hours of simulated drowning you'll have all the justification you need to invade whichever country you'd like! Facts be damned!
President Obama was quick to point out that our intelligence professionals are dedicated public servants. That's really good to know, because when it's time to administer a hummus enema to an unsuspecting detainee, you want a true professional.
Sidebar: The top thing I wish I could unlearn from 2014 has got to be 'rectal feeding'.
"Isn’t it obvious that if rape is used as a way of getting information out of a person that we’re already in hell? There’s no further to go, there’s no further for us to decline.” ~ Russel BrandI joke, but this is not a laughing matter. Torture is banned by our own constitution and many international treaties. Under these treaties, the prosecution for these crimes is not optional and it is perhaps the greatest failure of the Obama administration that these violations will likely go unanswered.
Besides, you can catch way more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. The next time we're engaging in the uninvited penetration of our enemies' buttocks, might I suggest a French Tickler?