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Thank you for the clear language — and the absence of euphemisms — that you used in Wednesday's editorial: "Holding CIA to account" (Dec. 10).

On Dec. 10, Human Rights Day, we see how very deeply we have violated our principles. While it is useful to make public this report, it is only a starting point on our return to normalcy. The next president can reverse President Barack Obama's executive order banning torture. We must have legislation that bans torture.

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Few have spoken of the need for a public apology to those we tortured. Even fewer have talked about reparations to the innocents. One such example of a better model is the situation of Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen, captured, rendered to a third country where he was tortured, who did receive an apology from the Canadian government and reparations. That is a model we would do well to emulate.

We must also consider accountability, however difficult, especially for those who designed and authorized these torture practices. The South African model is one worth considering. Acknowledgment of wrong doing on the part of those who committed these acts is important. At this point they seem to be busy attempting to justify torture. Multiple occasions of waterboarding and rape (referred to as "rectal rehydration") cannot be necessary for national security. We cannot allow torture to be ignored — or forgotten.

Suzanne O'Hatnick, Baltimore

The writer is chair of Interfaith Action for Human Rights.

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