I guess the jaw can drop some more. Here's Cliff May arguing two things at once. The first thing he argues is that you can do something called "torture lite" which isn't torture but has its effect. And what is its effect? Over to Cliff:
We now know that Islamists believe their religion forbids them to cooperate with infidels until they have reached the limit of their ability to endure the hardships the infidel is inflicting on them.* In other words: Imagine an al-Qaeda member who would like to give his interrogators information, who does not want continue fighting, who would prefer not to see more innocent people slaughtered. He would need his interrogators to press him hard so he can feel that he has met his religious obligations only then could he cooperate.
So the test here is whether a prisoner reaches the limit of their ability to endure the pain and suffering imposed upon them. I see no way to understand this except to grasp that the pain and suffering is so severe that it can no longer be endured. This, if Cliff would like to educate himself on the subject, is the definition of torture.
If you rough someone up or make them uncomfortable or remove them from the familiar or engage in grueling interrogation without coercion, you can make it easier for a captive to come clean. That is how intelligent interrogation operates. It takes time, but its results are immeasurably more reliable than torture, and it allows the prisoner some small zone of choice and freedom to tell us what he knows. But forcing people by physical coercion to the point where they have no effective choice and can endure it no longer is torture. Think about it: what could be more severe than reaching the limit of what you can physically and/or psychologically endure?