A reader writes:

I wish I could be sanguine about Mukasey's testimony that you highlight, but it seems more artful than committal.  Mukasey never alleges--or even implies--that the United States practices torture.  What he offers is an avowal that we don't torture--without a definition of the term.  He denounces the Bybee memo as faulty but doesn't address whether the memos or policies that replaced it were valid.  When asked about information obtained by waterboarding, Mukasaey claimed "I don't know what's involved in waterboarding"--which is either implausible or, if true, inexcusable.  He adds that he'd be "uncomfortable" with any evidence that was "coerced" without saying whether waterboarding would amount to coercion. Yes, he talks about the horrors of Nazi camps and how we came to understand the importance of not duplicating such horrors, but he never suggests that that's what's happened  In fact, all he's doing is setting an incredibly low bar.

I hope I'm not being naive. I'll go over the testimony again.

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