Re "U.S. Offers Graphic Proof of Brothers' Deaths," July 25: Many of us in the U.S. have been shocked and appalled at the pictures released of dead American servicemen in foreign lands. Particularly in Mogadishu, Lebanon and Iraq. The U.S. has long taken the position that distribution of pictures was inhumane and in violation of international law. The purpose behind the action taken against Qusai and Uday Hussein was military. The release of their pictures Thursday contradicted long-standing United States policy of not releasing the pictures of dead combatants. The current administration has lowered the U.S. to tactics used by Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.
The Bush administration's decision to publish ghoulish photos of the dead goes beyond brutality. It is barbarism. Publishing the photos will prove nothing, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld well knows.
This despicable action is intended to promote fear. But what it will really promote is more violence and more death, in a world that needs peace and responsible leaders that set a good example. Shame on President Bush and his mad warriors.
There at least should have been an attempt to capture Hussein's sons using tear gas or some other nonlethal approach. Putting them on trial for their crimes would not only forever put to rest the question of "Was it really them?" but would have had some redemptive value to the U.S. in the eyes of a world skeptical of our motives for war. Was it more poor planning or was it "poor execution"?
Some may cry foul that the Bush administration has released photos of the dead Hussein brothers. And while it is true that the release was barbaric and in violation of the Geneva Convention, the pictures are rare direct evidence that the invasion actually resulted in any killing. Reports indicate that several thousand Iraqis were killed in the war, plus almost 150 Americans. But in the media, the invasion was only a fireworks show and the aftermath is merely an occasional blown-up Humvee.
The Pentagon seems to have learned its lesson in Vietnam. Keep the body bags out of sight. Otherwise some real opposition may develop back home. And the news media are going along with it, except when convenient to drive the propaganda machine.
Two of the most despicable people in the world are dead and yet The Times prints four letters that basically condemn this administration for these actions (July 24). It is a good thing that this country was not listening to left-coast thought processes in 1940.
Re the assassinations of Hussein's sons: We have now reduced our level to that of our enemy.
Catherine M. O'Brien