This statement is about as misleading and as false as Jonah's distortions of the arguments in The Conservative Soul:
[Sullivan's] assertions on what is and isn't torture ultimately boil down to his own subjective judgments.
What to say about this, except that it is either a function of complete ignorance of my work on the subject or deliberate misrepresentation? My view of what torture is is grounded in the plain language of US law, in the plain English of what torture has always meant, and in the clear precedents of American legal and military judgment. It is based on the Geneva Conventions, American law, American history and the consensus of the entire civilized world for a very long time. And it is grounded in what conservatives themselves used to say about the subject - when waterboarding was used by the Khmer Rouge, when hypothermia, sleep deprivation and stress positions were used by the KGB and when the exact techniques used by Bush were deployed by the frigging Gestapo.
In fact, my own objective view of this matter was utterly conventional wisdom among conservatives and neoconservatives for my entire lifetime ... until the Bush administration. The idea that this is somehow now a purely subjective judgment - an assertion Goldberg makes without ever addressing the many historical and legal arguments I have made - is simply a smear, not an argument.