So... for an anti-torture position to have some meat to it, you have to make it clear that you think torture is unacceptable even when it does work.
If you're not willing to sacrifice real lives and safety to avoid torture, I don't think you are meaningfully against it, and you certainly stand no chance of persuading those convinced of its efficacy.
If someone wants to claim that some action has some effect it is on them to prove it not the rest of us to refute it. US torture advocates have had every opportunity to do so and failed.
What about all of the people that are tortured that don't have anything to do with terrorism? What sort of reparations do they receive? What sort of penalty does the US citizenry or the US government pay for those types of mistakes? It's easy to throw others under the bus to save yourself, but I'm not sure if the US can really claim to be the world's Moral Authority when they are doing such things.
Or they like torturing. (They are torturers, after all.)
Hypothetical: someone kidnaps a child and the police capture someone who definitely knows where the child is. The child's life is at risk. If the parent were to beat up (torture) the person to gain knowledge, you'd assume the parent "likes" torturing people? I wouldn't.
I completely agree with this, and it's the crux of the argument that I've made against torture when having that debate with people.
Whether it works or not is a cop out. Yes, I believe that torture is, in general, vastly counterproductive. But I also believe that there might be occasional cases where it happens to "work" for extracting factually true information (I put "work" in scare-quotes because there are all sorts of practical and moral side effects even if it does "work"). No matter: it's still morally wrong.
Most Americans believe in the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." That alone should be enough to imply that torture is wrong, since it is almost exclusively perpetrated against the unconvicted (and even if convicted, there's the whole prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishment," which I'd bet most Americans would also claim belief in).
I guess there are many people who don't think it through that far. And I'd bet that there are many Americans who believe that those rights apply to other Americans, but not non-Americans, or enemy combatants, or whatever. Such people are, IMHO, cowardly assholes. Everyone deserves the same basic human rights.
If torture really doesn't work, it's an amazing argument against torture.
I get very suspicious when I see conjunctive arguments that neuter hard value judgments. It's extremely common to see them: "I think you doing X is objectionable AND it doesn't even work!" Example from the right:
Gun control is unconstitutional AND criminals will still get guns anyway!
In my experience, the second half of these arguments usually has nothing to do with the arguer's real motivations, it just helps him/her avoid cognitive dissonance from the trade offs.
I attack this by stating that "We got far more intelligence by NOT torturing people in WWII."
People want to talk. If you give them an environment where they can just talk, they can't help but tell you valuable things.