The U.S. needs to face up to the brutality of torture

Monday, November 8, 2010; 8:06 PM

"Damn right." That was former president George W. Bush's response to the question of whether he approved of the use of waterboarding ["news story," Nov. 4.] His attitude shows shows how far we still must go to prevent the use of torture and regain the dignity of the United States in the world.

I witness the physical, psychological and emotional consequences of torture every day at our torture treatment centers in Washington and Baltimore. Have you ever noticed the public outcry when an animal is abused? Imagine listening, as I have, to a torture survivor say to me that he wished he were an animal, because animals have rights in the United States. I pray that he did not hear Mr. Bush's flippant remark.

Waterboarding is torture, and torture is a violation of law. Accountability for past torture is needed now to prevent abuse in the future.

Karen Hanscom, Hydes, Md.

The writer is executive director of Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma.

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