Abuse, inhumane treatment or torture of any person in any place under any circumstance is wrong. Anyone who advocates the use of torture or inhumane treatment for any reason should be viewed with contempt. Abusing or torturing a captured enemy is an act of cowardice.

The Post has reported that some government officials advocate exceptions to a policy of absolute prohibition of inhumane treatment and that some are working in opposition to legislation proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ["Cheney Plan Exempts CIA From Bill Barring Abuse of Detainees," front page, Oct. 25 and "Cheney Fights for Detainee Policy," front page, Nov. 7].

Because The Post cited unnamed sources, it is unclear whether allegations that the CIA and members of the executive branch are trying to derail efforts to prohibit inhumane treatment of our captured enemies are true. I hope the sources are misinformed, for the alternative is too disheartening to contemplate.

Our nation, conceived in liberty, could just as easily die in tyranny if not for constant efforts to maintain our basic values. Rosa Parks courageously fought tyranny. I believe Mr. McCain is fighting the noble fight, too.

It is time for all people of conscience to do the same. If we do not resist the efforts by some to endorse the use of torture, the terrorists will have won.



The writer served for a year in Iraq as chief of the medical staff for the Army medical task force sent to Abu Ghraib in response to the Taguba report on detainee treatment. The views expressed here are his own.