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Out from the shadows

June 06, 2004

David Shaw's column ("Abuse in Iraq -- an Ugly Story, But It Must Be Told," May 30) omits one very critical reason why the media in this country should cover this important story.

Many hundreds of Iraqis who might well have endured or seen abuse and worse at the hands of representatives of our country have been released from Abu Ghraib over the last two weeks. They have their own stories to tell to their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and anyone else willing to listen to them. No amount of self-censorship or trivializing here is going to shut them up. The story will come out in any case, no matter what we do or don't do.

If we are to hold true to our obligations as American citizens -- and as members of the human family -- we need to show them that we acknowledge their pain, humiliation and loss. I strongly urge my fellow citizens to quit thinking only about their own embarrassment and shame. Let us do what is hard but right -- take responsibility both as individuals and as a country.

And our first responsibility is to demand that these facts and allegations be made public so that we can judge for ourselves, as informed citizens, what needs to be done. Don't blame the messenger for the message.

Barry David Sell



Thank you so much, David Shaw. Would that John Kerry and the Democrats had the smarts and guts to say the same.

As Shaw knows more than most, it is difficult, given the venal media of Fox, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, talk radio, and the craven media as epitomized by the N.Y. Times and its crucifying of Wen Ho Lee and Judith Miller's cheerleading of Bush's war, for the voices of reason to rise above the screeching.

But he strikes a blow for reason and we appreciate it.

Gene and Mitchell Tendler

San Diego

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