Re "A Climate That Nurtures Torture," by Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks, Opinion, May 9: This is what this administration and many Americans don't "get."
The torture of Iraqi prisoners (and prisoners in Guantanamo and Afghanistan) is not about our image in the world. It is about the dignity of human beings. It is about the right of everyone to be treated with respect. This administration should not be allowed to violate human rights.
What has happened to the checks and balances our country is supposed to be based on? How can the executive branch be allowed to pull down the curtains and act with such outrageous disdain for the Geneva Convention and the U.S. Constitution? I am an American citizen and I feel very, very sad for those poor prisoners and their families and about my country's contribution to their pain.
"A Record of Misjudgment" (editorial, May 9) details a litany of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's mistaken judgments. Then, toward the end, there is a total non sequitur. You write that Rumsfeld's departure "could leave a vacuum of leadership." What leadership? Can the leopard change its spots?
Harry S. Hall
The problem is not simply an appropriate response to the abuse/torture of Iraqi prisoners. Rather, the incidents of prisoner abuse and subsequent cover-up highlight a systemic disregard for truth and accountability in the Bush administration. The cover-up is just one more example of an administration that seems to hold our democratic processes in contempt.
The Times is right; don't dismiss Rumsfeld. Unfortunately, the rationale is wrong. Dismissal of Rumsfeld, or forced resignation, would serve to give this administration political cover.
In your editorial you said that removing Rumsfeld as secretary of Defense now could leave a vacuum of leadership that no one else could fill. I disagree. Secretary of State Colin Powell should be given that post. He has always known better than Rumsfeld what should be done in Iraq. Almost anyone can fill the post of secretary of State right now because that position simply requires an apologist to an unbelieving world. With Powell in charge of Defense, our credibility with the world might be restored.
Leroy J. Miller
While reflecting on all the criticism the U.S. is taking from around the world, I am looking forward to the day when these same nations become so disgusted with our conduct that they refuse to accept any more of our money.
Rumsfeld says he accepts responsibility for the abuse of detainees. His words are false if any subordinate is penalized more than he is himself. What does he think it means to be responsible? However, could anyone be surprised if the words of this administration's leaders regarding anything about Iraq turn out once again to be false?
As the Iraqi prison torture scandal grows, I find it strange that the highest official being blamed is Rumsfeld. President Bush casts every action as part of a battle between good and evil. He claimed solid proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and an Iraqi link to Al Qaeda when there seems to be none.
What do we expect when we tell 20-year-olds they're going to Iraq to avenge 9/11, stop the evildoers and occupy a foreign nation? Zealotry, lies and occupation turned American kids into torturers. It starts at the top.
Michael Ramirez's editorial cartoon is right on (Commentary, May 9). The prisoner abuse by American soldiers is terrible, but it pales by comparison to the torture and killing of his own people by Saddam Hussein in that very same prison.
Where was the Arab world outrage then? That same Arab world is carrying out or financing terror throughout the entire world on a daily basis, and we should be worrying about their outrage? Give me a break.
Richard S. Weiner