Quite aside from moral arguments against torture, the simple and empirically verifiable fact is that America's willingness to countenance terrorism and prisoner abuse generates hostility to the U.S. in the Muslim world and the world. While Dick Cheney's position is no doubt motivated by his commitment to save America's lives, his advocacy of torture serves as a recruiting poster for groups like al-Qaeda. We should be on the moral highground not just because it is the right place to be, but because from their America may better to disarm America's enemies.
Vice President for Torture: "The vice president has been a prime mover behind the Bush administration's decision to violate the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and to break with decades of past practice by the U.S. military. These decisions at the top have led to hundreds of documented cases of abuse, torture and homicide in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Cheney's counsel, David S. Addington, was reportedly one of the principal authors of a legal memo justifying the torture of suspects. This summer Mr. Cheney told several Republican senators that President Bush would veto the annual defense spending bill if it contained language prohibiting the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by any U.S. personnel."
And also see Maureen Dowd on the Heart of Darkness.