Treatment of POW's versus schoolchildren
Letter to The Nashville City Paper from Tom Johnson

The Nashville City Paper

May 19, 2004 10:51 PM

Re: Subject: treatment of POW's versus schoolchildren

To the editor:

The national soul-searching that we have undertaken as a result of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal is certainly appropriate. The scope of this reflection, however, should not be limited to foreign affairs. While some may consider it a stretch to relate two issues with so many distinctive elements, I have a few questions for all those who denounce the infliction of physical suffering on prisoners of war yet who support school corporal punishment.

If American MP's were simply to paddle captured Iraqis to gain their compliance, in the exact same manner that thousands of schoolchildren are legally paddled in the U.S. every day, should that be acceptable under the Geneva Convention? Would such paddlings be condemned as abuse (albeit to a lesser degree than the degrading acts shown in those now infamous photos), or praised as an effective disciplinary tool? Would you say these prisoners had been beaten--or merely "spanked"?

It would surely be curious to think that the standards for how we treat our enemies were stricter than for how we treat our children.

Tom Johnson
P.O. Box 121486
Nashville TN 37212

See related Sheer Unadulterated Sadism, By Alice Miller, May 2004
See related Respect for human rights begins at home, By Jordan Riak, May 9, 2004
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