Letters

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Abu Ghraib abuse: degrees of outrage

Regarding your May 3 article "To Arabs, photos confirm brutal US": It's understandable that Iraqis and the rest of the world should feel a sense of revulsion at pictures of prisoners being abused. One wishes they had expressed a similar sense of outrage at the burning of the corpses of the American contractors not too long ago, the cold-blooded execution of an Italian prisoner, or the videotaping of reporter Daniel Pearl's beheading. Instead, the best they could muster was an attitude of defiance or jubilant cheering in the streets of Baghdad. What a fickle bunch they are, indeed. Miguel A. Guanipa Whitinsville, Mass.

I propose that such reprehensible behavior is not surprising. Teaching, learning, and worst of all, practicing the killing of fellow human beings is in itself dehumanizing. It is noted in the article that, without broad surveillance, such violence will continue, "be it Iraqis against Americans or, in this horrifying instance, Americans against Iraqis." Intentional killing, for any reason, cannot promote intended good or lasting peace.

Though I have never been present in a war zone, I have been afforded too many opportunities to ponder what such an experience must entail. I firmly believe that such an experience has the potential of turning even the best of us into the worst perpetrator of abhorrent behavior. It would take great spiritual and moral stamina to prevent such occurrences in the midst of warfare. In order to repair our image in the Middle East, as the article correctly points out, we need a fairer policy that would promote and bring about lasting peace. Susan G. Lapointe Lexington, Mass.

Abu Ghraib is no My Lai

Regarding your May 3 editorial "Sadistic Abuse of Iraqi Inmates:" Your comparison of the terribly unfortunate but now vastly over- reported incidents involving a few American military police and Iraqi prisoners with the 1968 My Lai massacre only exposes your consistent political bias. These two situations are in no way similar. The huge majority of US soldiers are done a great disservice by media fixation with atypical incidents. …

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