BILL MOYERS: Is torture the purest expression of evil that you've seen?
MARK DANNER: I think if you're looking for a pure expression of evil, torture is pretty-- is a pretty good candidate.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
MARK DANNER: Well, because you are taking-- I mean, it's also the most illiberal policy, the sort of most diametrically opposed to what we are as a polity. A liberal state has as its heart the notion that government is limited. That there is an area of privacy of our daily lives in which governmental power, state power, cannot intervene.
And torture takes over someone's nervous system. Torture takes over what they feel. Torture takes over and penetrates into their mind and into their body. It's not only illegal, it's immoral. And it's against-- it's against the heart of what the American political tradition stands for, which is an enlightenment tradition. And in which the abolition of torture, by the way, in the 18th and 17th century, was extremely important. So it's going back into darkness, I think, in a very dramatic way.
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