"The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel," - an unsigned two-page attachment to a memo by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency in July 2002.
So the military knew it was torture and said it was torture. Because it was torture. And the United States has statutory and treaty obligations to investigate all charges of torture and to prosecute the guilty. Or are we to withdraw from the treaty that Ronald Reagan signed and championed?