Big deal: In the name of openness, the CIA is releasing records of the abuses we already knew about in the 1970s. Well, if you really want openness, how about honesty about the abuses of the 21st century?

How about an honest accounting of the torture, secret prisons, domestic spying, eavesdropping, wiretapping and other invasions of privacy that have become routine business by our national intelligence community? They have only become public to the extent that they have been leaked.

Naive? I'm sure many will say so. After all, these folks will argue, the nation's vicious enemies do not play by such rules and the United States can only protect the way of life we hold so precious by matching brutality with brutality.

But what's naive is that argument.   It's naive to think that given the added powers handed to federal agents they won't abuse those powers. They have.

Slowly, word of some outrages has leaked out. The media who report them are then routinely accused of being unpatriotic. But how patriotic is it to engage in conduct that inevitably demeans the U.S. both at home and abroad? The tactics may be expedient, but the damage they cause has belittled all of us.

One can only hope that the war on terror can be fought without abandoning the principles that have defined this country. If not, what's the point?