The function of torture in our society is not about getting information, in spite of what we might want to believe. It is merely about power. It tells the world that there is now no limit to what we will do when we feel threatened. That it is ineffective in gathering information, that it is actually counterproductive in making us any safe, has been clearly documented, it’s been known for years. That the box has been opened, and that the use of torture continues, now legally, suggests that it has become, for us, a mystical symbol, no less based on superstition than carving a crescent into a stick. Money, information, these words you are reading — all of this will seem quaint in 500 years, if we have that long. What they will say when they look back on this time is that torture continued from the death of Christ for over two thousand years — a strange, primitive reenactment. They will see that at first we confused it with passion, which devolved into the Inquisition, and then transformed into what we now call “information.” They will see that a handful of maniacs living in caves were able to take down the greatest empire on earth [and] they will wonder how that could be. All we can tell them is that these maniacs understood our fear, that they transformed into it as we tries to hold on, asking over and over our meaningless question.”
— from “The Ticking is the Bomb” by Nick Flynn.