The opinion currently at issue is here.
The author of the opinion is now a federal judge. The NYT has called for his impeachment on the ground that the opinion is evidence that the judge is unfit.
Much of the commentary about the opinion is overtly political, consisting of generalizations and question-begging conclusions, making no reference to the text of the opinion other than to the detailed descriptions of techniques that surely meet the common sense definition of torture.
But purporting to judge a legal opinion and its author on the basis of politics and common sense is is patently unfair.
The lawyer was asked to and did provide a legal analysis and opinion tied to a very specific set of factual assumptions. To be fair one must take into account the relevant law, the reasoning of the opinion and the context in which the opinion was written. That context includes the memory of 9/11, the right of a country to defend itself against an enemy willing to slaughter as many civilians in any way possible and the obligation of the lawyer’s client, the President of the United States, to protect the country and its citizens from all enemies foreign and domestic.
Using language from the NYT editorial, one could say that The Times editorial is “not an honest attempt” to evaluate the opinion fairly.