Date: May 6 2004

Sent to but not published in Boston Globe

The position taken by Joan Vennochi that the prisoner abuses in Iraq are the work of a few "bad apples" is becoming less and less sustainable as time passes. Today's revelation that, for the past few months, the Red Cross has been asking the US to stop prisoner abuse tells us that the "bad apples" are also to be found at higher levels of the military and political hierarchies.

The questions must be asked: when did the Secretaries of State and Defence know what was going on; when did the President know? If they didn't know, who was responsible for keeping this politically explosive information from them. If they didn't know, why didn't they make it their business to make sure that they got accurate and complete information about the situation in Iraq?