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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Prisoners found way to stop suffering

Three prisoners at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have finally managed to leave their misery behind by successfully committing suicide ("Investigations begin into suicides," June 12). Is anyone surprised?

Even without physical torture, the hopelessness of being deprived of human contact with friends and family for four years and with no end in sight would bring many human beings to the brink of suicide.

We are assured that the bodies of the prisoners are going to be treated with the utmost respect.

It's too bad that same respect could not have been shown to those detainees while they were alive.

Being force-fed must be a terribly degrading experience, physically and mentally.

Under its present leadership, America has lost the moral high ground.

The rest of the world looks at us with disgust, and rightly so.

We also are creating more terrorists by our actions.

Elke Straub

Baltimore

Suicidal terrorists won't murder others

Unlike the 19 terrorists who committed suicide on Sept. 11, 2001, the three terrorists who recently committed suicide at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison facility took no one else with them ("3 detainees commit suicide at U.S. facility," June 11).

That is perhaps the best argument against shutting down that facility and releasing its remaining occupants to work their evil ways upon an inestimable number of innocent victims throughout the world.

Barry C. Steel

Phoenix

Terror war takes us into netherworld

What the "war on terror" is illustrating is that we have entered a zone of moral ambiguity, with no apparent exit in sight ("3 detainees commit suicide at U.S. facility," June 11).

When the general in charge of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, can accuse three detainees who hung themselves in their cells of engaging in "asymmetrical warfare" against us, it begins to define the shape of the contorted logic that must be employed to explain and justify this strange netherworld that we have created.

We may as well accuse David of asymmetrical war against Goliath and start a whole new interpretation of the Scriptures.

The general is quoted as saying, "These are dangerous men; they are not here by accident or happenstance."

Well, that would seem to be false on the face of it.

We have already released scores of prisoners who were held for more than three years without charges, and only 10 of the more than 460 detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay have been charged with any crime.

To call them "dangerous" without being able to file charges against them in more than four years suggests a logical fallacy that any half-awake undergraduate could immediately grasp.

J. Russell Tyldesley

Catonsville

Let the detainees kill themselves

Thank God I'm not in charge of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ("Investigation begins into suicides," June 12), because I would give the prisoners the rope to hang themselves or let them participate in hunger strikes if that is what they choose to do.

Donald T. Wurstner

Severna Park

A case of murder by mistreatment

The deaths of the three detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have been officially termed "suicides" ("Investigation begins into suicides," June 12). A more accurate description would be "murder," by our government, our military and, by implication, all Americans.

These detainees have been in prison for more than four years, being held without any charges brought against them.

They escaped from their imprisonment in the only way they could see left to them.

Michelle Collins

Baltimore

Betraying bias against Israel

In the past, when I would hear or read someone accusing The Sun of an anti-Israel bias, I usually dismissed the person as a wacko type who saw a conspiracy on the part of anyone who said something that he or she disliked. But on June 10, I was made to reconsider.

Since Israel has evacuated Gaza - how long has that been? - Palestinians have been shooting Qassam missiles targeted specifically at civilians into Israel almost every single day.

Israel did almost nothing despite this. For a time they fired artillery shells specifically into empty fields in "reprisal."

Then last week, when there were Palestinian civilian injuries, this got bold front-page coverage with a large color picture and everything ("Hamas to renew attacks," June 10).

And, as it turns out, it appears that they likely were the victims not of Israeli shelling but of Hamas mine-laying.

Israeli injuries: not noteworthy; Palestinian ones: big news.

So obvious a double standard is finally convincing me I owe an apology to those "wackos" I had derided.

Mordecai Glicksman

Baltimore

Maybe right-wingers are just bad writers

Most so-called liberal publishers are small parts of huge multinational corporations that exist for one reason only: to make money.

How ridiculous, and how ironic, that conservatives, who rail against a culture of victimhood, are now complaining that they are the victims of a conspiracy - by big business ("The lonely lives of conservative editors in the liberal world of book publishing," June 4).

Even assuming that there is a dearth of conservative books, there is a much simpler explanation for it: the dearth of good conservative writers and thinkers.

If Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, George Will, Tom Clancy, David Frum, William Kristol, David Brooks and David Horowitz are the best conservatives have to offer, imagine how bad the rest of them must be.

Daniel Rosen

Baltimore

Leave it to God to do the judging

The writer who addressed the column "Walking on water? How liberal Christians interpret the Bible" (Opinion * Commentary, June 4) by responding with the letter "It's God, not Paul, who judges gays" (letters, June 8) suggests that the Apostle Paul's condemnation of homosexuality holds no water, so to speak, and that God is the sole judge in this and all matters of conduct.

I commend the writer's letter. However, in reading all writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I do not see where God says homosexuality is a forgivable "sin," or that it is a "sin."

I do see, however, the words, "Judge not lest you be judged." This is interpreted by all the Christians I know to mean that no person has the right to judge anyone -in this case, for his or her sexual orientation.

It is very comforting to know that Paul's words are not God's words, and his judgments are not God's judgments.

Many people are openly judged in Paul's writings, and interpreting him literally would disparage them and their religious beliefs.

JoAnne Zarling

Baltimore

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