A reader writes:

Begin has a nasty image problem outside of Israel. But it should be noted that his torture policy was noteworthy. As soon as he assumed office, after the general elections of 1977, he summoned the head of the GSS (AKA Shin Beth), and told him simply, "you must stop using all methods of torture. This is an order". The director protested: "Not even a slap to the face?"; "Not even that," replied Begin.
It should be noted that when he did so, the country was under a deadly wave of terror attacks. Not yet suicide attacks, but deadly nevertheless. And he stuck by his order.

When you have actually confronted what torture is, like McCain and Begin, you know how cancerous it is to a free society. The sign of a strong conservative is his disavowal of torture. The sign of a weak one is his embrace of it.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.