The brutality of our enemies, however, can never justify or excuse our adopting similarly inhumane methods. To do so would be to lower ourselves to their level and betray our most cherished beliefs and values. War is, by definition, an ugly business under any circumstances. But even in a war there must be some limit on what is considered permissible, otherwise the line separating civilization and barbarism quickly vanishes. The CIA torture program clearly crossed that line, and while Americans are not being called on to atone for those misdeeds, it's incumbent on them to acknowledge they must never be repeated in a country that seeks to maintain its moral compass.