Des Moines Register
May 27, 2004
Senator Charles Grassley says he won’t look at photos showing physical and sexual abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison and doesn’t want the public to see them either (“Grassley Against Releasing Photos of Prison Abuse,” May 22).
Grassley is in no position to close his eyes to the abuses at Abu Ghraib. As a senator, it is his duty and moral obligation to confront this issue.
If the United States really wants to show the value of a democracy, we must publicly investigate this abuse. Those responsible must be held accountable. We must take immediate steps to ensure it can never happen again at any U.S. military facility.
President Bush and Republican leaders have repeatedly asked the public to close their eyes to secret searches and wiretapping of innocent civilians provided for in the USA Patriot Act. We shouldn’t be surprised they don’t want the public to see evidence and instead insist that loving our country is best done by turning our faces away.
It is unconscionable for Grassley to shirk his responsibility to look and has in willful ignorance given Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld his unqualified support. There appears to be significant evidence that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were not the isolated actions of a few but were a predictable result of inadequate training and a failure to implement any safeguards against prisoner abuse.
U.S. Senate, Iowa City.