We have had a recent disclosure that we have used enhanced interrogation techniques after 9/11. Enhanced interrogation techniques are a euphemism for torture.

I have heard various defenses for our use of these practices. One is that we gained useful information that allowed us to bring the offenders to justice. Another is that the perpetrators were terrorists and not entitled to rights that we extend to prisoners of war. Another is that the terrorists have no respect for life and therefore should be treated in the same manner in which they have treated us.

Yet another is that polls have shown that popular opinion supports our use of these techniques.

Even if useful information were gained, this would be irrelevant. This does not excuse us from these immoral acts. The end does not justify the means.

The next was that the terrorists were less than human and not entitled to rights that we afford fellow human beings. This same argument has been used in the past to justify great atrocities and genocide.

The next argument is that popular opinion supports the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. The news media seems to report these polls as some sort of justification for enhanced interrogation, but popular opinion does not determine morality.

We are now condemned to live by the rules we have set. We should never treat anyone in a manner that we would not want our sons and daughters to be treated. Torture makes us no better than the people responsible for 9/11. But the most important consideration is that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques is wrong.

Wallace Jeanfreau, M.D.


New Orleans