Well, that's the theory our elite runs the country on, so why wouldn't they they think "learned helplessness" would work on captives? Hence, torture. Read the whole Times article for the detail, which is startlingly congruent with M. Scott Peck's idea that evil is a form of laziness.
If we are to believe their protestations, none of them did their homework or checked with their staff or exercised any form of critical thinking. They did what they wanted to do because they wanted to do it. And here we are.
NOTE Although I don't believe in God, I do believe in good and evil. Further, neither good, nor evil, nor our capability to recognize and perform both and each would have arisen in nature if they did not offer survival value.
UPDATE Here is a list of euphemisms for torture in the article. Some are from the reporters, some are from sources.
1. "Harsh tactics" (twice)
2. "Brutal methods of interrogation"
3. "The techniques they were approving"
4. "The most shocking method"
5. "Harsh methods"
6. "Interrogation methods some thought might work"
7. "Interrogation methods"
8. "[the opposite of] traditional, noncoercive methods"
9. "Brutal interrogation methods"
10. "Abusive treatment"
11. "Physical pressure"
12. "... the methods he described ..."
13. "Harshest interrogations"
The language is always the first thing to go.
Interestingly, the only time the word "torture" is used, is in connection with the Chinese. And the reporter persists in the laziness, and reinforces it, by noting onl in passing that the Chinese program was designed to elicit false confessions, without asking whether the most evil of the perps might have wanted that very thing:
Say, a false connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Froomkin, a real, and not lazy, reporter, asked that very question, citing McClatchy and the Detroit News as well, so it's not as if the idea weren't already in the discourse.