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Treatment of Detainees Is Justified

January 26, 2002

Re Al Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo Bay: There was a time when soldiers were contestants in a game, often with many fatalities, that were fought for land and other objectives of their civilian leaders. International agreements provided for considerate treatment of soldiers taken prisoner and their release when the game was over.

It makes no sense for a country to consider itself bound by such agreements when the lives of perhaps millions of its noncombatants are at risk. If weapons of mass destruction exist and may soon be available to an organization dedicated to killing as many noncombatants as possible, and if prisoners from that organization are likely to have information that would be very useful for preventing such mass killing, any practical means of eliciting that information are morally justified. I should prefer to avoid torture if drugs can be effective without torture, but the safety of the country's noncombatants should be of paramount importance.

This is especially appropriate when the organization to which the prisoners belong is not a recognized government and has never itself agreed to be bound by the principles included in the international agreements.

Bernard Sobin

Laguna Woods

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It seems once again some deceitful human rights groups, eager to take a cheap shot at the United States, are claiming inhumane treatment for the prisoners held in Cuba. What we are doing there is legal, constitutional and proper. These swine have sworn to kill our soldiers, given the opportunity. The last time we got lax with people like this, American soldiers were attacked and killed.

I have a solution. Our military will back off and just patrol the boundaries of the compounds. These human rights activists may then enter and replace the guards and make all the rules. You can take in any luxuries and foods you wish, at your own risk of course. Otherwise, shut up!

Michael Hannin

Newbury Park

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Now, this is not to be believed: There are actually people who object to the good guys dealing firmly with the bad guys? I'm bewildered. There are those objecting to chaining and regimenting vicious human beings who behave like wild, untamed animals. There are objections to fencing in and compartmentalizing terrorists who plot to kill enemies in a heartbeat. It's said by some that those detainees should be treated with more respect and leniency. Those bleeding hearts are hemorrhaging stupidity.

Shirley Osborn

Los Angeles

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It is a shame that we treat terrorist suspects in prison with more care and attention than we do our own homeless.

Alex Langley

Camarillo

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