We, as a people, desperately want to ignore this issue. We want to pretend it doesn't happen. And unless there is a constant media blitz forcing Americans to come to terms with our torture policy, we'll continue to ignore it.
The soldier accused of leaking material to WikiLeaks is currently being held in solitary. He hasn't been convicted of anything, and he wasn't on suicide watch (though now apparently we have to pump him full of anti-depressants to keep his brain intact). There is a solid case to be made, one this made in chilling detail in The New Yorker, that long-term solitary confinement rises to the level of torture.
But, as Ta-Nehisi Coates points out, the New Yorker's question -- is solitary confinement torture? -- is no longer the most salient one. Years after Abu Gharib and waterboarding, years after a Bush administration that explicitly sanctioned torture and years into an Obama administration that has done its utmost to insure there is never any accountability for it, a more harrowing question emerges: Even if it is torture, would we even care?
I think the answer is clear. No. We would not. Much as we have with prison rape, we, as a society, have come to terms with permitting torture of those we detain -- convicts, military detainees, even the accused. It is now part of who we are as a nation. And it will take a great, soul-wrenching shift to turn us away from it.