They Knew What They Were Doing
A reader writes:
The crucial fact is that SERE techniques were designed by the U.S. military to mimic the illegal treatment of American POWs in North Vietnam. Let me say that again: these tactics were SUPPOSED to be illegal, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and without any normative rules. The SERE training that I went through and talk about on my blog was meant to prepare me for mental stress, physical abuse and torture. A good chunk of that training was in methods for defeating such tactics.
So the illogic of this strategy becomes clear: the Defense Department took a training simulation that demonstrated illegal treatment of POWs and applied it directly to the treatment of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib prisoners.
And told their lawyers to call it legal. It's really not that complicated.