My mounting outrage over the endorsement of torture by the U.S. Justice Department finally broke tonight when I read the Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations. After two decades of letting my ambivalent feelings about the country that I've chosen to make my home paralyze my thinking about what it means to be an American, the New York Times reportage has made me realize that I am indeed an American and proud to be one, that the criminal acts of the men in our government in no way reflect what I stand for and what I believe my fellow Americans stand for. On the statue of Liberty in my beloved New York City, it is inscribed "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Not the windowless, mattressless stainless steel coffin in which our government incarcerated fellow American Jose Padilla, nor the replica Soviet police interrogation techniques that our "Justice" Department endorsed. Our country is better than than. It is time to take our government back from the criminals who purport to issue policies with the word "justice" across them.