Re "When torture feels right," Opinion, Oct. 10
Joel Stein compares killing more than 50,000 Iraqis to torturing detainees for intelligence and concludes that the latter is less morally repulsive. Stein does not understand the first part of his comparison. A party at war tries to minimize the use of force to keep the number of civilian deaths low. You keep the force proportional to the goal of winning the war with the fewest casualties. As soon as you use more force than is absolutely necessary, you are morally irresponsible.
Exactly the same scale applies to how you treat prisoners. Because your prisoner is more or less powerless, it is not proportionate to use any force. You have taken the warrior out of the theater of war and made him your prisoner. Maybe cowboy Stein should update his knowledge on ethics.
ANNE D. JOSEPHUS JITTA
Stein does a brilliant job of political satire in a time when emotions run high and patience is wearing thin, and I am afraid that many did not read all of his piece with total comprehension.
Let me invite those who read the article and thought that Stein was seriously pro-torture to revisit the article to fully get a handle on satire and the mistakes that this Middle Eastern adventure is bringing down on the heads of countless thousands.
STEPHEN S. ANDERSON
\f7Now that you have printed Stein's article on torture, I have one question for those who make editorial decisions at The Times: Have you no sense of decency?
I know Stein was using humor to make his point on torture, and I found much of it humorous, although when I was finished, I couldn't help but feel a little sad. Because he is right.
\o7Rancho Palos Verdes