‘Victim of anti-US propaganda’

Nikos Konstandaras in «America Rex» (Commentary, December 12) reveals his disillusionment in America; he may have fallen victim to the propaganda of the enemies of America. Mr Konstandaras puts faith in the small fact that the American free press revealed the «secret» (his word) of the Abu Ghraib prison «scandal.» Facts should be sufficient to reclaim Mr Konstandaras’s faith in America. First, the American military was investigating the individuals responsible for the mishandling of prisoners the year prior to the press publication of those famous, inflammatory photos. There was relatively little public concern, prior to that, over Abu Ghraib. The point here is that the Abu Ghraib prison «scandal» was not a secret, but a routine and public, military investigation. Justice was being done, as usual, without the press attention and the use of the word «scandal.» Second, there is no support for the use of torture in the United States of America. The factual debate over the handling of prisoners in the War on Terror concerns whether terrorist combatants should be apprised the same rights and privileges of a standard military combatant under international law or even those of an American citizen under the US Constitution. I agree with our President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the terrorist has no legal right. I am opposed to the weakening of law by not observing it. This point of view extends rights where the law establishes them and encourages those who are not members of society under law to become such. Nikos Konstandaras should hold this same concern, as he has such a strong desire to see America not lose its moral compass. The propaganda of the enemies of the USA is the cause of the confusion that facts belie. I hope that attention to these facts will help Nikos Konstandaras help me in «living a life worth living and upholding a civilization for which no one should feel shame.» Americans should not have the responsibility to uphold such civilization alone. JEFFREY P. CLAGETT, Alexandria, Virginia, USA.