The Same Standard Applies to All POWs
As I read “Hope and Despair for POWs’ Families” (March 25), I found it interesting that, as the article continued on Page A4, there is a picture of Iraqi POWs huddled together behind barbed wire with looks of despair on their faces. This picture could easily be seen as an outrage upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment. If you read the Geneva Convention Part 1, Articles 13 and 14, you will see that this is not allowed. How ironic that this picture is right next to text that reads, “President Bush has said repeatedly that he expects captured U.S. troops to be treated humanely.” If we as Americans want our POWs to not be paraded before media, then we must do the same. The Times should not be printing pictures of Iraqi POWs, and they should not be shown in degrading situations on our TVs. It is our duty to set the highest standard to the world, even in a time of war. Only then can we hope that our POWs will be regarded the same.
I understand the sensitivity that prevents showing images of captured, wounded or dead coalition soldiers prior to notification of their families. Why, then, is it OK to show the wounded Iraqi child Shahid Halid on the March 25 front page, with the caption that she does not yet know that her mother has been killed? Do the child and her family not deserve similar respect?
Re “Pride and Grief for Fallen Marines,” March 26: While any individual can argue for or against war, it takes a truly remarkable one to fight, without question, when the decision is made for it. I grew up in a military family and have to say that these are everyday people who are willing to lay it all on the line for our country. I offer my condolences to all families who have lost loved ones in the war. I greatly appreciate the service they gave to our country. This was one of the saddest, most difficult articles I have ever read.
I see that the old Vietnam-controlled body count is back. What a great day for America -- 500 Iraqis dead. A few of our troops dead. Weeping parents, wives and children. Wow! At this rate we’ll have Iraq depopulated in 25 or so years. Meanwhile, we must keep arresting antiwar demonstrators and labeling anyone who disagrees with Bush a traitor. Ain’t war great ... for some.
Preston P. Birenbaum
As I read Edward Luttwak’s March 26 commentary, I was struck that he could use the term “insignificant” in describing combat death. Try explaining that a young soldier’s combat death was insignificant to his or her now-grieving loved ones. Every single death in combat is significant, no matter how low the casualty count.