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Iraqi Prisoner Torture
May 7, 2004
© Rabbi Jack Moline

If we ever needed a graphic reminder of the dehumanizing effects of war, these photographs of American soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners come to instruct us. They are nothing short of pornography.

Jewish tradition teaches that even in war, every human being must be viewed as uniquely created in God's image. Enemy combatants must be resisted in war, and the sad fact is that lives are damaged or lost, even sometimes when combatants become prisoners. But human dignity must be preserved even in armed conflict, and our soldiers seem to have failed at that task. President Bush echoes the thoughts of all conscience-stricken Americans when he expresses his revulsion and regret at these incidents.

Pictures of piles of naked bodies and men leashed like dogs are on display in every documentation of Nazi atrocities. The soldiers responsible for these acts dishonor the veterans of World War II, who fought against the perpetrators of that evil, during the very week our nation pays tribute to their sacrifice.

As individuals, they have a price to pay and atonement to make. As a nation, we have soul-searching to do.

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