Here’s perhaps a reason why Obama was so hesitant initially about getting dragged into this debate over interrogation: Obama’s intelligence director Dennis Blair “told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists,” the New York Times says.
Blair later released this statement: "The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."
There will still be apologists for torture but I have to admit that those who do, do so at their own peril. They scale a slippery slope that, one broached, lends itself to an end justifies the means justification for increasing violence and brutality. "Because it keeps us safe" has been a historic rationalization for all kinds of inhumane behavior of which subsequent history has since taken a rather dim view. This goes well beyond everyone's favorite analogy of Nazi Germany. It applies to every center-right government who responds to an attack by a foreign enemy by embracing the same policies of fear and terror.
I admit I do not understand the mentality of people who seem to believe that the United States has a right to dictate terms to the rest of the world. In seeking to repair our damaged reputation in the eyes of the world community, Republicans seem to believe that we're asking permission from other nations as to what we should do---turning towards some completely submissive stance. This I really do not understand. At what point does wanting to work together with the rest of the world become this exercise in surrender or in capitulation? I don't think any power should run the world. If we're going to live together in some semblance of peace, this is going to have to be a stance that more of us are willing to take.