Torture would be wrong even if it worked

May 23, 2011

I am thankful that Sen. John McCain has remained steadfast in his belief that torture is wrong, as reported in the Leonard Pitts' column ("Benefits of torture come at too high a price," May 22). I appreciate also that Mr. Pitts highlighted Senator McCain's emphasis that a discussion on the use of torture hinges on whether the end justifies the means, misses the point entirely.

Though the senator indicated that the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence but that the information provided to stop torture is often misleading, he also said the following: "All of these arguments have the force of right, but they are beside the most important point. Ultimately, this is more than a utilitarian debate. This is a moral debate. It is about who we are. … Individuals might forfeit their life as punishment for breaking laws, but even then, as recognized in our Constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, they are still entitled to respect for their basic human dignity, even if they have denied that respect to others."

Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person and it degrades everyone involved — policy makers, torturers and victims. It contradicts our nation's most cherished ideals.

Bro. Jerry O'Leary, Baltimore

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