On Dec. 14, former Vice President Dick Cheney argued vociferously in favor of the CIA post-9/11 torture program, which was reviewed and condemned by a Senate committee headed by Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif.

There is a controversy about whether torturing individuals produced valuable information or whether non-torture forms of interrogation might have produced the same, if not more accurate, information.

There is a much larger issue here. The United States cannot posture itself as a moral standard for the world and then torture individuals (some of whom were confirmed cases of mistaken identity) and claim that the end justifies the means. The United States routinely condemns other countries for engaging in torture and then clearly sabotages its own moral stance by engaging in similar misdeeds.

John Brennan, the current CIA director, still will not admit that detainees were tortured. This denial opens up the possibility that torture will continue to be an approved policy of the United States government, albeit a policy not openly admitted to.

Moral standards are not standards of expediency. Either we maintain a moral standard or we forfeit the claim that we are the world’s moral conscience and leader.

Dennis Ratner, Waterville