'In the Company of Those Involved'
Saturday, May 15, 2004; Page A22
The Post's focus on the possible uncertainty of the international legal status of the detainees held by the United States as the reason for the shocking abuse shown in the photos from Abu Ghraib detention facility is misplaced and wrongheaded ["Protecting the System," editorial, May 12].
The issue is moot with respect to Iraq because all individuals detained there are explicitly covered by some aspect of the Geneva Conventions.
Nevertheless, The Post's continued editorializing on narrow definitions of international laws and whether our soldiers understand them puts The Post in the same company as those involved in this despicable behavior in terms of apparent disregard for basic human dignity.
To focus -- as the editorial does -- on the soldiers' level of training or their understanding of international treaties is to suggest that those coda dictate: "Don't force another individual to stand naked with electrodes attached to him."
The behavior shown in the photos is depraved and sadistic. It violates the most basic teachings of human behavior that people learn before kindergarten, not just Army regulations and international conventions.
LAWRENCE Di RITA
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Public Affairs
Department of Defense
© 2004 The Washington Post Company