Some of these horrors make agonising reading - but it is incorrect to say that they defy description. In the cold, expressionless language of the Senate report, even blunt, mechanical phrases can contain the key to understanding a world of pain. 'Rectal feeding' is one. 'Stress position' is another. Through reams of inert prose, an appalling picture of abuse is built up and solidified.
If we continue to feed this monster it will become much more problematic to defeat. Our leaders and the public who oppose military intervention now will only be repeating the mistakes we made in the 1930's by not stopping the Nazis before they became too powerful to stop quickly and effectively causing catastrophic loss of life totaling 60 million civilians and soldiers.
Barack Obama's now rather famous phrase from the end of last week is quite something... Torture is a worldwide scourge, affecting three-quarters of the world. Acknowledging that it's as wrong when used against "terrorism suspects" as it is against political opponents or even minor criminal suspects is... well, progress.
As Randolph Bourne said when writing about World War I in 1918, war is the health of the state. As America's power has grown, so has its propensity for war. Regardless of the debates about the justness or morality of war, the numbers have shown peace to be the exception in America while war has been the rule, making this last century since the start of World War I undeniably a century of warfare.
At the moment, the need to stop the bloodshed is far greater than any desire for perfect multifaceted Muslim nations. But, if there is a hope of fixing Iraq's damaged democracy and creating an Iraq and a Syria where Kurds, Shia and Sunni Muslims can live in peace together, then the UK and the US need to learn its lessons and keep our distance.
With the Sochi Winter Olympics well under way and the conduct of our global leaders and their policies firmly in the spotlight, I thought it'd be helpful to produce a guide to some abiding political principles, quotations and notes that aspiring politicians and politicos can use to make sense of the madcap crazy political world we live in. Enjoy.