Prosecute Iraqi abusers

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The shameful abusive conduct perpetrated on Iraqi detainees cries out for the most thorough investigation and prosecutions. Moreover, the investigation must go as far up the chain of command as the facts justify. It is inconceivable that following that process the sanctions should be limited to reprimands and early retirements.

We would expect that such insubordination to military policy and physical abuse of detainees should result in criminal conviction and incarceration. Nothing should be swept under the rug. The investigation must be both unflinching and seen to be unflinching.

While we are gratified that the president spoke out quickly and firmly to condemn the disgusting conduct, a few passing words is inadequate to the occasion.

We are confident that the degrading events were the product of only a tiny few of our military personnel. But it stains the honor of our entire nation.

Such a stain can only be effaced by a serious, formal expression by the president of his contempt for such conduct. He, not just his spokesman, should publicly insist on the most rigorous investigation and punishment.

We hope that the president will seek a more formal venue to let both the country and the world hear from his own lips the seriousness with which he takes these repulsive acts carried out under color of American law.

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