An astonishing confession of ignorance:
As universally understood, torture is the infliction of physical injury through the application of physical force.
No: this is the universal definition of torture under US law, and the Geneva conventions:
severe mental or physical pain or suffering
This standard has been the case since the Second World War. The argument that no permanent or even temporary physical injury means no torture is a canard, once deployed by the Nazis. Here is their defense of "enhanced interrogation" in 1948:
Most of the injuries inflicted were slight and did not result in permanent disablement.
The US rejected such cant and condemned those guilty of using the Bush-Cheney methods to death. It tells you all you need to know about some neoconservatives that they now side with the arguments of the Gestapo against the arguments of the US to defend their own willful ignorance and power.