There is nothing "hollow" about the magnificent, professional and often heroic medical care that our combat medical soldiers provide to our armed forces, the Iraqi armed forces, the civilian population, and particularly the detainees in our medical and holding facilities throughout the theater of operations ["Doctors and Detention," editorial, July 13].

The Post implies that recent articles point to inappropriate actions by physicians and other health care providers regarding detainee care and interrogation support. Neither these articles nor the surgeon general's recent assessment document anything of the sort. Had there been any evidence of recurrent or systemic complicity or dereliction of duty, an investigation by appropriate agencies in the Army or the Defense Department would have been instituted.

We have behavioral health specialists who assist commanders in ensuring that interrogation and detainee operations are safe, legal, ethical and effective. The specialists function similarly to psychologists in U.S. prisons. They are trained to determine whether an interrogation is no longer safe, and to intervene to stop the process if necessary. They are trained and authorized to make assessments of character, personality and social interactions and to advise personnel who perform lawful interrogations. They do not engage in or condone torture or abuse. I applaud these service members for their courage, selflessness and the legacy of military medicine they represent.

-- Kevin C. Kiley

Falls Church

The writer is surgeon general of the Army.