Disgusted by prison photos, some Americans question war | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Disgusted by prison photos, some Americans question war

PTI | ByAssociated Press, New York
May 11, 2004 03:53 PM IST

Some Americans are disgusted, ashamed and embarrassed enough by photographs showing U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners to change their vote for president. Some are wondering why their country ever went to war.

Some Americans are disgusted, ashamed and embarrassed enough by photographs showing U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners to change their vote for president. Some are wondering why their country ever went to war.

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"It changed my view of certain Americans," said Colleen Landry in Evansville, Indiana, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the Army's 101st Airborne Division headquarters. She used to support President George W. Bush. Now she questions her faith in him and in the military.

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"It makes you wonder what they went over there for in the first place," she said. Because of the photographs, she said, she will not vote for Bush in November.

Underneath that is the gnawing fear of many Americans that the photographs of soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners are the latest entry in the list of why the U.S. is often hated abroad. "I was humiliated to be an American," said 43-year-old Sue Hammond, a Democrat in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "It just shows how perverse the war is - and under the name of the United States. It just makes the whole situation worse."

Ali Kirk, 37, a Florida lawyer whose family escaped Iran during the revolution, said it is inevitable that the photographs will fuel hatred of Americans by Muslim countries, especially those with poor economies.

"When you throw religion, illiteracy and unsophistication together, it's a dangerous mix," Kirk said.

Some Americans said that while the photographs are awful and inexcusable, such abuses inevitably occur during war. Paul Dupont, a 56-year-old Vietnam veteran, sat at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Evansville, where he is the quartermaster, and said he does not condone what happened in the photographs. He firmly believes, he said, that most in the military are working for good, and that abuse is committed by the few.

But he said he understands how it happens.

"It's hard to turn the other cheek when your buddy's sitting there with his head blown off," Dupont said.

In Albany, New York, Alex Harrington studied a front-page newspaper account of Bush's reaction to the images of abuse, which included nude prisoners stacked on top of each other and prisoners forced into sexually humiliating poses.

Harrington worried that more damage had been done to relations between the Arab world and the United States. "It's all about oil and people are dying for no reason. We're in these people's country in the first place, and we shouldn't be," said the 27-year-old computer programmer.

In Albuquerque, Harry Gonzalez, a 53-year-old business owner born in Puerto Rico, described himself as having no political affiliation and said he was disillusioned by the photos.

"Our credibility is gone," he said. "Bush doesn't have control over the situation and the public doesn't know where we stand." An Associated Press poll released Friday found that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of Iraq, while 46 percent approve. The AP-Ipsos survey of 1,000 adults was taken May 3-5 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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