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The question Iraq torture pictures

News

The media has been swamped with pictures of US and UK soldiers apparently torturing Iraqi prisoners of war. What impact will this have on the effort to stabilise Iraq?

Whether true or false, the damage has been done. Implanting the idea is easy, erasing or correcting it is very difficult and in the politically sensitive atmosphere surrounding the whole Iraq episode the consequences will drag on for some time and will not easily be forgotten by those who would seek to benefit from tarnished reputations. The Daily Mirror has a lot to answer for. If it really had wanted to 'root out the rotten apples' Piers Morgan could easily have contacted the Ministry of Defence with the 'evidence' before splashing it across its pages. If one more British soldier gets shot in Iraq, the Daily Mirror could and should be tried for treason.

Lance Fogg, 60, managing consultant, Blackpool I did not advocate the attack on Iraq: it was shameful that we were forced into it in the first place.

However if I had seen close friends killed I would have great difficulty in treating any captives with great humanity. The sooner we are out the better; but if we did just pull out now there would be even more infighting and bloodshed.

Neil Henderson, 46, project manager, south east It's war. Of course things happen.

Nasty things. Things that are incomprehensible from the comfort of a suburban armchair. That's why war is so bad. But surely the worst act of insanity was to broadcast the images in the national press.

The view from beyond our cosy shores must now be of a nation linked irretrievably to those images. And whether they are real or faked is immaterial.

Jon Balley, 53, water engineer, Buckinghamshire Whether in this instance we see rogue elements of cruelty or deliberate 'softening-up', this kind of ill-treatment has happened in many armies over generations.

Robin Thomson, structural engineer, Linlithgow This appears to be one of the horrors of war, which I find inexcusable. It can only serve to undermine the efforts of the coalition. Why should the Iraqis put their trust in us now? Officials have tried to justify these incidents as being isolated and therefore 'better' than Saddam's regime. I find this incredible and sickening.

There is no justification for this type of behaviour, even during war.

Charis Fowler, 31, senior engineer, Midlands The humiliation and torture of detainees is abhorrent and I am sure that those responsible will be brought to justice. Equally, those seeking retribution would do well to remember that these crimes are being perpetrated by a tiny minority within our armed forces, while in Saddam's former army this type of thing was commonplace.

Greg Riddle, 31, site manager, Afton I believe the UK pictures are fake as there are too many inconsistencies. However, in one jail US abuse is certain and a degree of UK abuse is likely.

Although such actions are wrong, they do occur in war zones. Antiinterventionist and Muslim fundamentalist elements have gained a huge propaganda advantage. It should be remembered that the reactionary forces are intentionally murdering civilian contractors to the applause of large numbers of the world population while on the other side a minority of soldiers and prison guards are abusing prisoners for which they will be punished.

Mat Toy, 39, principal engineer, south east England

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