How Should Prisoners Of War Be Treated?

3149 words - 13 pages

How Should Prisoners of War be Treated?

In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, entitled "George W. to George W.," Thomas Friedman writes about the treatment of prisoners in United States custody being held in Iraq and Afghanistan. Friedman writes in his "George W." piece that “We killed 26 of our prisoners of war. In 18 cases, people have been recommended for prosecution or action by their supervising agencies, and eight other cases are still under investigation.”

Friedman goes on to write that the United States has been very lax when it comes to punishing those United States officials and officers in charge during the time that prisoners of war have been tortured and killed. Friedman calls for President Bush and the United States government to “Just find out who were the cabinet, C.I.A. and military officers on whose watch these 26 homicides occurred and fire them. That will do more to improve America's image in the Arab-Muslim world than any ad campaign, which will be useless if this sort of prisoner abuse is shrugged off.”

Friedman counter poses the present-day United States’s treatment of prisoners of war against the more compassionate way that Washington and his soldiers dealt with British and Hessian prisoners of war. Washington believed that every combatant had the right to surrender peacefully. Because of Washington’s treatment of prisoners of war, Friedman contends that “George Washington and the American soldiers and civilians fighting alongside him in the New Jersey campaign not only reversed the momentum of a bitter war, but they did so by choosing "a policy of humanity that aligned the conduct of the war with the values of the Revolution.”

Friedman raises many key issues that Americans need to deal with. How should prisoners of war be treated? American troops are guilty of torturing prisoners of war. One needs look no further than the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The war in Iraq today has many controversial events happenings in the treatment of the prisoners on both sides. Many people know about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the mistreatment of prisoners. Horrible photos of abused Iraqi prisoners spread through the news all over the world.

One figure of prisoner of war captures in Iraq by the US and UK forces are more than 5,300, and many still being captured today (Kelley). The treatment of these prisoners should follow strict guidelines of the proper treatment of the prison war. Many problems have occurred with the mistreatment of prisoners, especially in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Here is one account: “According to the U.S. Army, one Iraqi prisoner was told to stand on a box with his head covered, wires attached to his hands. He was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.” (Abuse of Iraqi POWs by GIs Probed).

“Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a...

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