As I read the Aug. 30 front-page headline "Documents Helped Sow Abuse, Army Report Finds; Top Officials Did Not Make Interrogation Policies Clear," I thought of my father, Merle McNeil Musselman, who survived the Bataan Death March and three years as a POW in Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan in the Philippines during World War II. He was rescued by heroic Army Rangers assisted by Alamo Scouts and the Filipino guerrillas.

I have missed him every day since his death in 1990, but for the first time I am glad he is not here to share the sadness that I feel about the display of human rights abuses directed at POWs and civilians of an occupied country.

My dad was a staunch Republican and raised his children to be proud Americans and to honor our servicemen. Despite the abuses he endured and witnessed, he taught me the importance of treating all people with respect.

As R. Jeffrey Smith's article emphasized, the conditions for the abuses in Abu Ghraib came from "top officials." Whatever the outcome of the presidential election, I pray that our leaders will work much harder to honor the Geneva Conventions and to protect basic human rights.

MARY MUSSELMAN

Bethesda