As I've said, I simply have no patience with arguing from ugly-looking photos -- they're a demagogic device intended to invite to knee-jerk visceral unthought, and it makes me more suspicious of the user ("weak point, holler louder," basically).
But these photos remind us of the selectivity of the outrage among what I will take advice and call, in the spirit of their careful intellectual discernment, the "Better That New York Be Nuked Than One Jihadi Be Made Uncomfortable" Crowd. There is no objective standard by which our interrogation practices are worse than theirs.
The Pharisees dismiss this as "if they do it, we can too." But that's not why I insist on noting this. My point, rather, to make more-empirical points about the war debate and the secular effects of the war than to make purely moral points of what should be done.
For example, if other nations and/or a significant segment of the US population say they hate us because we torture, but they don't hate more those who torture more, then something else than torture must be motivating their hate. Thus, (1) they can be dismissed as not speaking in good faith; and (2) not-torturing won't help us with them in any way.
Also, their torture makes it absurd to view this or any other war as some sort of divine "vote of confidence" or an instrument of specific divine judgment over the matter of torture. If we lose in Iraq, then Al Qaeda and the Islamists will have won; and if they torture more or worse than we do (which is an empirical fact) or if they commit more, more-deliberate and more-gruesome war crimes than we do (ditto), then God will have rewarded their torture and war crimes. Only a notion that ONLY the US or the West are under divine judgment, admittedly a not-uncommon bit of ethnocentrism among Americans, could argue otherwise.
I also hereby make a prediction. If it turns out that the three captured US soldiers were or are being tortured like this (and if I were a betting man, I'd bet on it; God comfort them) ...
... that Shea will blame Abu Ghraib, the Bush-Cheney torture regime, et al (as if torture were unprecedented or unknown in Arab culture, or Al Qaeda were such saints they would never have done so without our egging them on).
Still, I will remember Iran's act of war against Britain and the captured sailors were (as I predicted returned without having been tortured or otherwise mistreated). Shea said the Iranians didn't torture because we did (in order to win the moral high ground, doncha know; here are numerous cites)
In other words, when captured Westerners are tortured by Al Qaeda, that will be because the US tortured. When captured Westerners are not tortured by Iran, that was because the US tortured. Al Qaeda will torture because we gave them permission to torture; Iran did not torture because we made it to their advantage not to torture. As if Abu Ghraib wouldn't have given Iran permission to torture or hasn't made it to Al Qaeda's advantage not to torture.
A cause that explains everything explains nothing. I detect an a-priori obsession, searching for a