There are several obvious reasons, both ethical and practical, for the US to reject the use of torture. But a sad new reason was added during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, when it was revealed that US military trainers instructed Army and CIA interrogators at Guantanamo in 2002 on “coercive management techniques” derived from Chinese communist practices.

Trainers and trainees alike were unaware that these techniques were drawn from a 1957 article on Chinese interrogation methods by a sociologist in the Air Force. The original study was titled “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War.” Its chart of Chinese torture techniques had been used to teach Americans how to resist physical pressure of the kind that elicited flagrantly false confessions from American POWs.

Vice President Dick Cheney and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld are old Cold War warriors. They belong to a generation of officials who defined the struggle against communism not simply as a geopolitical clash between superpowers but as a contest between the rule of law and the law of the ruler, between civilised values and communist immorality. When they condoned torture, they made it seem that both sides came out of the Cold War as losers. — The Boston Globe