A reader writes:

I sort of think of torture like rape: It may not kill the victim, but it gives so much power to the person inflicting it and causes so much trauma to the victim that it’s obviously beyond moral second-guessing: it’s wrong beyond the pale. Rhetorically, I suspect that if we were officially raping females suspected of terrorism, there would be legitimate outrage.

Though one can’t be sure. I’m constantly surprised by what we tolerate in this country.

I presume Cheney would regard it as a "no-brainer." Or an "enhanced penetration technique". Of course, we do have evidence for the rape of prisoners under Bush as commander-in-chief - in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

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