Torture is not something we tolerate of our government, military or police, so an amendment professing to codify that value should be of little consequence.
But the amendment doesn't say "torture." It says "cruel, inhuman or degrading." That is far too open to interpretation to let it stand. The ACLU, which is dogging the military at every turn in an effort to expose anything that might harm our image or put our soldiers at risk, will have a field day with McCain's amendment.
Forget for the moment "inhuman." That's a standard our troops can meet without having to read a field manual. But "cruel" and "degrading," especially the latter, are too vague. Consider a prison situation, let alone an interrogation situation, and the ACLU will be able to find something they find cruel and degrading in every hour of every day.
It doesn't matter whether they win. Just bringing the allegations will further their cause, feed the media, give them access to papers, and hurt us.
McCain, having been subject to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the North Vietnamese can be forgiven for his passion on this subject. But 89 Senators went along with him. They were thinking politically, not practically, so it's up to the House to bring some sensible modification that accomplishes the goal without giving the ACLU more low-hanging fruit. (source)