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The Shadow of Iraq

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The Shadow of Iraq

The Shadow of Iraq

The Shadow of Iraq

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The Iraq war is having a significant impact on local U.S. elections, while the abuse of terrorist suspects has given the American military an image problem that isn't going away.

DANIEL SCHORR reporting:

Coming events cast their shadows before, wrote poet Tom Campbell, and the three year old Iraq war may be casting some shadows now.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: President Bush, who had been to great pains to avoid any indication of a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, made one slip at his news conference last Tuesday. Asked if the day would come when there would be no American troops in Iraq, he said that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq. Which means that he expects that American forces will be stationed in Iraq at least until 2009, possibly longer, if you take the plural, presidents, literally.

But the Iraq was has already started casting a shadow over the political scene. Tammy Duckworth(ph), a retired Army major who lost her legs in Iraq, last Wednesday won a close Democratic congressional primary in suburban Chicago, the seat from which Henry Hyde is retiring. She is one of some 50 veterans running for Congress as Democrats. Many are running in what, until now, were considered safe Republican seats.

One other shadow: Last Tuesday, Sergeant Michael Smith of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was convicted of tormenting prisoners in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison with his snarling Shepherd dog. As The New York Times pointed out, that makes at least 10 soldiers sentenced for abuse of prisoners, none higher ranking than sergeant; this despite the fact that a sergeant reported to officers who in turn got their guidance from generals.

Sergeant Smith, for example, said he worked under procedures approved by the Intelligence Officer, Colonel Thomas Pappas(ph). Pappas, in turn, said he followed guidance from Major General Geoffrey Miller, commander of the Military Prison at Guantanamo Bay. The abuse of prisoners casts a shadow that is not likely to be dispelled until the brass and the top brass are held to account for inhuman treatment of terrorist suspects.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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