Darius Rejali, author of Torture and Democracy, was interviewed on All Things Considered about the DOJ torture memos. He responds specifically to the assertion that the interrogation techniques described were “safe”. From the show’s description:
The memo goes on to explain the basis for this assertion. According to Bybee, the government is confident that these techniques are safe for one very simple reason.
For a number of decades, Bybee writes, the government has been systematically using almost all of these techniques against more than 26,000 of our own people: soldiers participating in a program intended to teach them how to survive capture by a hostile enemy. Only a very small portion of those soldiers, the memo goes on to say, experienced any negative psychological repercussions.