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Ban torture for security's sake, coalition tells Bush

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"We have the synergy here of realpolitik with moral values," says Linda Gustitus, president of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

The plan now is to seek broad public endorsement of the declaration in coming weeks, and then take it to the president.

Those involved see the current policy, in which CIA interrogators are not restricted by military interrogation rules, as having devastating consequences.

"Other countries have cut back their cooperation with us ... on the battlefield and in intelligence," said Alberto Mora, former general counsel of the US Navy, in a conference call with reporters. "There are serving US military officers today who are of the view that the first [two] identifiable causes of combat deaths in Iraq are Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo" because of their power as recruiting tools.

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