Many torture apologists make much of the fact that official policy regarding "enhanced interrogation" meant tactics that didn't cause permanent damage. Waterboarding probably won't kill you. Sleep deprivation, stress positions, use of insects. You'll survive.
As awful as this logic is, the fact of the matter is the real techniques were not limited to these methods. We know from Nazi war crimes trials that when official policy permitted the above, in reality these methods would be frequently extended. Take the case of Manadel al-Jamadi. He was strung up by his arms from behind. The door closed. An hour later he was dead. Sabrina Harman was told by her superiors that he died of a heart attack, but she was skeptical, so she took some photos. She found evidence that he was beaten savagely and realized she was being lied to.
Maher Arar was shipped to Syria where he claims he was confined to a coffin size box and whipped with cables, among other torture methods. Binyam Mohamed says that he was cut with scalpels and razor blades across his penis and chest.
It gets worse. It is beginning to look like KSM's children were tortured to encourage his cooperation and to get information from them. They were younger than 10. His are not the only children tortured.
The al-Jamadi case is supported with photographic evidence. The rest are unproved. We do know that at Guantánamo the evidence is intentionally destroyed. We know that the video of José Padilla's interrogation has been "lost". We also know that Bush lawyer John Yoo won't answer the question when he was asked if the President had legal authority to bury someone alive.
This was all done to keep us safe, right? It was used to prevent further attacks, not extract false confessions, right?
What has happened to conservatives, who used to be pessimistic of expanded government power?