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May 14, 2004

The Honorable John W. Warner
Chair, Senate Armed Services Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Warner:

It is time for the United States Congress to take an unequivocal position on the abuse of prisoners of war in Iraq. It is time for Congress to take leadership, and to demonstrate that the United States is a country of laws, ethics, decency and principles. It is time to rise above partisan politics and to demonstrate those principles.

The leaders of the U.S. Congress have the power and obligation to correct the circumstances that allowed this abuse and torture. Holding prisoners incommunicado and without hearings to determine their status, cannot be permitted to continue. In addition, the conditions of imprisonment must be humane and must be monitored.

The war in Iraq opened a gulf between the United States and the people of the world. The prevalent image of our nation abroad is that of the “arrogant aggressor,” and each new revelation lends credence to that view. The international conventions against torture and affirming human rights cannot be ignored without damage to the international standing of the United States. Creating allies requires leaders who are trusted and admired, rather than feared and hated. Healthy economies can only prosper in times of peace, and in the absence of terror.

In October 2004, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) will meet other social work organizations from 78 countries in Adelaide, Australia, where we will join efforts to seek diplomatic solutions to international conflict. I hope that with your actions and those of other Congressional leaders, we can say that the United States does not condone torture. Decisive steps must be taken to stop prisoner abuse and hold the perpetrators accountable.


Gary Bailey, MSW
President, NASW


For more on international issues: http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/intl/default.asp

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