Torture is not only a proven ineffective means to an end, it is an end in itself. It springs from the idea that the end justifies the means, which is the basis of so much human misery throughout history. When we use abhorrent means to justify an end, that is what we are remembered for and what we perpetuate. Put another way, the actual end that we achieve in any process is the means that we use to get there (Hitler, Mao, Spanish Inquistion, crusades etc)
A so called terrorist is someone who has taken the idea that the end justifies the means to an extreme. Torture is no better than that. Torture is the thin end of a wedge and part of the mindset that has lead also to the suspension of civil liberties, habeas corpus and the Constitution, dishonouring treaties, supporting pre-emptive strikes and nuking “enemies”, disregarding the Geneva convention and world opinion, creating a black and white “us vs them/good vs evil” world and so on. It all seems to be a package deal that has added, not lessened instability in the world. Some might say these are necessary means to an end in the so called “War On Terror”, but history will surely judge that Bush presided over a dark and ugly chapter in US history and steered it to become a place that reflects far less our highest human aspirations. That is the real end that Bush achieved.