Understand, I would never argue that torture is moral, humane or even remotely a good idea:
The US executed Japanese soldiers for using the same techniques that the US now uses. Taking torture off the table as "an essential part of warfare/intelligence gathering" PROTECTS American soldiers and citizens.
In reducing itself to a torture state, the US put torture back on the table for its enemies. Turn-about is fair play. If an enemy state feels that it might be able to get information from an American soldier (or any American on a business trip) through torture, America can't say, "That's a crime!"
Which is why the US didn't do this (or warrant-less wiretapping, etc.) when the Soviet Union was the enemy, and the Soviets were certainly a far more dangerous enemy than what's left of al Qaeda.
In the first Gulf War Iraqi troops surrendered to in large numbers even BEFORE fighting, because they knew they'd be treated well. That no doubt saved a lot of American lives - lives that would have been lost in battle with troops who otherwise would have fought. America's torture program - widely reported in the Arab media - will make enemy troops keep fighting. It'll cost far more American lives than it will save.
Notwithstanding all this:
The "torture is ventriloquism" argument against torture is wrong - because it applies only to the torture of one person and that's not what the US was doing. They were doing it on a large scale, not just torturing terrorists, but torturing people they had vague suspicions might be distantly associated with them. In my mind that makes it far MORE horrific, MORE wrong, but the point still stands.
America's torture program isn't ended; it's on hold for the current administration. The lack of prosecution even under a Democrat administration, recent election demands by prominent Republicans to resume torture, and the total lack of backlash over those demands even by Democrats - make this pretty clear.
John Yoo will live happily ever after. Check out the Washington Times review of his book that I linked to above. It praises his doctrine with "boldly state political truths that others dare not utter." It refers to "illegal" policies of the administration... just like that: With "illegal" in quotes. It derides opposition to his doctrine as "the protests at Berkeley." Now, years later, John Yoo is teaching at Berkeley.