The Torture Debate Continues

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Regarding the May 14 front-page article, "Obama Shifts on Abuse Photos":

I have mixed feelings about the decision of the Obama administration to withhold the damning photos of abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have a relative serving in the military in Iraq, and I do not want to put him or others in further danger.

The truth, however, seems to be that such abuse was far more widespread than the work of "a few bad apples," and, if that is so, it should be exposed. It would not be surprising, given that our president, vice president and defense secretary at the time seemed to believe that we no longer needed to follow the Geneva Conventions and should "take the gloves off."

I believe that complicity is widespread but degrees of culpability vary. A nonpartisan commission of inquiry is the first step to sorting out what happened and why.

I have not heard any comment about reparations to those innocents whose lives we have damaged by false imprisonment and abuse, nor of reparations to the survivors in cases where detainees have been murdered or died in our custody. I would hope that we do not forget those whom we have victimized.

SUZANNE H. O'HATNICK

Baltimore

The writer is Maryland legislative coordinator for Amnesty International USA, but the views expressed are her own.


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