Is Ours a Society That Accepts Torture?

Open Letter to CIA Director Brennan:

I feel a deep shame for our country. You and the agency you head have degraded the United States of America in the eyes of its citizens and the world. You have now proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are as capable of the abuse of basic human values as Syria and North Korea.

The findings of the Senate report on torture was made by dedicated and concerned individuals (despite the interference and obstruction of the CIA) and is a report to be held in the highest regard as to its veracity. The report shows incompetence, depravity, and moral poverty on the part of the CIA.

Your agency was tasked with finding out as much as possible about the events of September 11, 2001. Interrogation within the law, and these limits are clearly defined by law, is a legitimate tool for the CIA to use. But the CIA deliberately went outside the law to commit the most vile of all practices: torture. And your recent remarks in defense of the CIA seem to imply that the use of torture under certain circumstances is acceptable and patriotic.

I refuse to accept the use of torture under any circumstance. By international treaty, domestic law, and by basic norms of human behavior, it is unacceptable.

Democracy is a light in the world. It may be the only light in the realm of human governance. Your actions have helped to dim that light.

The greatest tragedy of the CIA torture program is that human beings, many of them innocent of any crime against us, were tortured.

The second tragedy is that it was we who committed the torture.

The third misfortune for our country and our future as a democracy is that those responsible for this crime have not been held to account. This may be the greatest tragedy for what it says to children and future generations, that ours is a society that accepts the use of torture.

I appeal to your better nature not to accept torture as legitimate practice. I also appeal to you to understand that, for the sake of our society, we must hold those responsible, from the highest position in government to the lowest civilian contractor, to account for their actions.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Caltrans Estimates 154 Will Open Mid-March

Repairs ongoing at a cost of $2.2 million after Whittier Fire debris blocks culvert.

County Crude Report Highlights Greka, Plains, and Other Spills

Three major onshore projects are now up for consideration.

Carbajal Joins Bill Protecting National Monuments

It would give Congress, not the president, the power to redraw boundaries.

Trump to Raid Pentagon for Wall Money

Budget deal passes Senate short of full funding for "the wall"; Trump will declare national emergency to ...

School District Exploring Dual Language Program

Forty-three percent of Santa Barbara students are native Spanish speakers.