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Torture has no rational defense

Torture can never be justified, and its use as a method of interrogation is contrary to our basic ideals as a moral and just society. The mere fact that we are debating whether waterboarding is torture should cause us to question its use.

But we can also look at history, previous findings that waterboarding is torture and the prosecution and imprisonment of those who carried it out as further proof that we must reject this and other forms of "enhanced interrogation techniques" that border on and are in fact torture. Do we really want to be compared to the Khmer Rouge?

President Barack Obama was right to acknowledge what many already believed, that "waterboarding" is torture. The attacks of Sept. 11 were immoral. But one immoral act does not justify another.

Although experts agree torture does not generally produce reliable intelligence, let's suppose that some useful information is obtained from waterboarding and we condone its use. Where do we stop? If we believe lives are at stake and there is an imminent threat, why wouldn't we yank out fingernails or use a hot poker to extract information?

As to politics, it matters not whether Democrats or Republicans approved the use of torture, a crime is a crime and those who authorized its use should be held accountable. To not hold those accountable or to allow the continued use of torture will further harm our moral authority and our national security.