Great stuff, Hitch on Abu Ghraib:
* It has defiled one of the memorials of regime change. I was a visitor to Abu Ghraib last summer, and the stench of misery and evil was still palpable in those pits and cellars. It is as if British or American soldiers had not only executed German prisoners of war, but had force-marched them to Dachau in order to commit the atrocity.
* It has been like a shot in the back to the many soldiers (active front-line duty, not safe-job prison guards) who were willing to take casualties rather than inflict them and who fought selectively and carefully. What are the chances of the next such soldier who is captured by some gang of Saddamists or Wahabbists or Khomeinists?
* It seems, at least on its face, to have profaned the idea of women in the military. One does not have to concede anything to Islamist sexism in order to know what the impact of obscene female torturers will have in the wider society.
and clarifying the precise objection to torture:
One has to remember the crucial objection to torture in the first place. Moral considerations apply, as they must. But the vice of the torturer is that he or she produces confessions by definition. And soon, the whole business of confession has become polluted with falsity and madness. Even the medieval church was smart enough to work this out and to drop the practice...Another objection is that the torturers very swiftly become a law unto themselves, a ghoulish class with a private system. It takes no time at all for them to spread their poison and to implicate others in what they have done, if only by coverup. And the next thing you know is that torture victims have to be secretly murdered so that the news doesn't leak