Hey, Colin Powell finally gets one right.
Since 9/11 our rulers have elevated American Exceptionalism to absurd heights, arguing anything we (meaning, actually, George Bush) does is by definition Right and True and Correct. Torture is fine when we do it, bad when others do it. They see no advantage in trying to achieve the moral high ground because whatever we do is moral.
American might in the world always depended in large part on its moral authority. No one thought the country was perfect or that it ever came close to living up to its ideals, but the ideals were still there.
Aside from disgusting me, losing that perception of moral authority makes everything we do more costly and more dangerous.