When Republicans on this site talk about the "need for torture", they refer to "getting information" about "al Qaeda" plans. The following, while over a year old, still seems to be a pretty good summation of the current state of al Qaeda: Is Al-Qaeda's Central Leadership Still Relevant? :: Middle East Quarterly After U.S. forces eliminated the group's safe haven in Afghanistan in late 2001, many argued that Al-Qaeda had transformed into a decentralized organization with little vertical hierarchy, that it had become "more of an ideology than an organization. There is a clear separation between the leadership and lower ranking operatives. A central command joins terrorists with specific skill sets across regions, tasks smaller cells, and provides financial and logistical resources. There might be a few thousand people out there claiming to be al Qaeda members, but the real al Qaeda does not exercise any control over them. They are not coordinated in their operations or even working toward a common goal. And while many of these new al Qaedas might be competent militant groups, they lack the combination of strategic vision and obsession with security that ultimately allowed the original al Qaeda to move mountains. The United States is now waging a war against jihadism as a phenomenon, rather than against any specific transnational jihadist movement. --------------------------------- Torturing for information from people who don't know anything about a "central organization" that doesn't exist is counter productive. The US needs to develop a thoughtful, coherent strategy to defeat al Qaeda. The current failed Republican strategy of "invade, bomb and kill" has shown to be a greater "recruitment tool" for al Qaeda than a deterrent for radical Islamic terrorists activity. After years of failure in foreign affairs, the Republicans are the very last people we should be listening too. It's as if al Qaeda personally had a hand in designing Republican foreign policy for the effectiveness it's shown.