Prisoner Abuse Should Not Be A Political Issue

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Editor:

The recent reports of abuse of Iraqi prisoners has become a matter of concern and controversy. A value of a democratic society is that problems like this are properly publicized. The resulting criticism is likely to lead to appropriate corrections.

The fact that these regretful events occurred doesn't mean that the American people, a political party, or any government administration has abandoned our generally accepted moral principles. In every large group there are people who will, on occasion, deviate from generally accepted moral principles. Such large groups are a cross section of the society they represent. The large group doesn't change its moral standards because a few of its members acted inappropriately.

We should not draw major conclusions from isolated incidents involving relatively few people. Such a narrow database does not support such extravagant conclusions. The fact that this has been raised as a political issue suggests that the party raising the issue doesn't think they have any issues of more substantial merit to raise in this campaign.

One of the most important issues in this campaign is who can best protect Americans from terrorist attacks. We now have an administration that has been consistently dedicated to protecting the security of the American people. Its focus has been on fighting terrorists in the countries providing a sanctuary for them, rather than in the United States. Only one major terrorist attack has been directed against the United States since President Bush took office. The terrorists are so pressed to defend themselves they probably don't have the resources to attack us now.

The Clinton administration's record on security doesn't justify much confidence in the satisfactory performance of that function by a Democrat administration. Terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993; Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia in 1996; American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; and the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. That administration showed amazing restraint in dealing with Iraq's continuing evasions of inspections to check on destruction of weapons of mass destruction.

The Democrat leading the race for the nomination of their party for president continues to change his position on security issues. Do we want to trust the security of Americans from terrorist attacks to a party with that record of ineffectiveness, and to a candidate with a record of indecision on security issues?

Jim Winter

Payson

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