Besides all this, it's based on an errant premise.
In the conventional design, the aerodynamic lift of the blades is indeed in the direction of providing torque. Whether talking about the top, bottom, left, or right of the windmill.
It's not that the force is in the wrong direction: it is in the correct direction to power rotation.
EDIT: hadn't seen your reply when posting before, but see it now.
I believe you are trying to have the wind push the blades, just as a paddlewheel pushes the water.
In contrast, a wing design generates force, excluding drag considerations, at 90 degrees to the direction of airflow across the wing. Thus, a helicopter rotor, for example, generates upwards force from the blades rapidly moving horizontally.
If you instead had a wind blowing from the bottom up through a helicopter rotor, then power would be generated.
Wind pushing the blades like a paddle, or for propulsion having a paddle push the air or water, though more intuitive, is not as efficient.