Torture Makes My Head Hurt

05/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Please help me out. I'm very confused about the whole torture situation so I'm trying to collect all the various points of view and make sense of them. And the duality of the arguments is giving me a headache.

All I want is to find something, or someone, to believe.

Let's review:

We don't torture. But we did.

But we don't. So we didn't.

We couldn't. And we shouldn't. So we didn't.

No, wait, I think we did.

It was legal. And it was also illegal.

So we broke the law. But maybe we didn't.

But if we did, we must have had a good reason. But there's never a good reason to break any law.

So we didn't. Unless we had to.

If their people torture our people, that's bad. But if our people torture their people, that's okay.

So we did. No we didn't.

It was useful. It was useless.

Some commentators say it was helpful. But people who were actually there say it wasn't helpful at all.

But commentators know more than the people they comment about. But how could they?

John McCain was tortured and says it doesn't work. Dick Cheney wasn't tortured and says it does.

Some say releasing the memos will tip off our enemies and allow them to train against our interrogation techniques. Others say that makes no sense because these techniques have been known of since the Spanish Inquisition.

Our enemies already know we use guns and they haven't yet trained themselves to duck quickly enough to dodge the bullets. Or maybe they have.

Apparently reading a memo about waterboarding is more instructive than actually being waterboarded. Because they did it to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 182 times and didn't think he'd figured it out, so they did it one more time.

So it's okay to break the law if you're trying to do good. But it's wrong to ever break the law.

But torturing people -- which we didn't do -- works. So we did.

But we didn't. Except when we had a good reason.

Bill O'Reilly says that waterboarding one person to save the lives of another 3000 is okay. Understood.

So how many people could we waterboard before it wouldn't be okay? A hundred? Two hundred? Twenty-nine hundred and ninety-nine?

Doesn't matter anyway, because America does not torture. Except that according to the Geneva Conventions, we did.

But if someone never signed the Geneva Conventions, we can do anything we want to them. Then they can do anything they want to us.

And then we can kill them. And they can kill us back.

And they do. And so do we. But that's okay because this is war.

Except it's not really. But it is. Isn't it?

The Obama administration says it's important to release memos which prove what the Bush administration did, and to whom. But they also say it's wrong to punish the people involved.

Unless they decide to. But they want to look forward, not backward.

So if someone robs your house and you don't find out who did it until eight years later, you shouldn't arrest them. But they definitely should be held accountable.

Shouldn't they? Or maybe not.

After eight years of non-transparency, we were offered change. And we got it.

But this isn't change we can believe in. This is change we're being asked to ignore.

It's important that we know what was done in our name. But we're told it's not a good use of our time to punish the people who did it.

The right calls it enhanced interrogation. The left calls it torture.

The right says it's kept us safe from our enemies. The left says it's created even more people who want to do us harm.

The right says they're right. The left says they're right.

But, as Arianna Huffington put it so succinctly -- "This isn't about right and left. This is about right and wrong."