Not fair at all

All that glitters is not justice at Guantanamo ("Mission: Fairness," Dec. 9). The shiny new high-priced, high-tech courtroom buys only the thinnest patina of justice.

In the legal no-man's land of Guantanamo, the courtroom will stand in the shadow of four suicides and numerous attempted suicides by prisoners held for more than five years without charge. Some detainees have allegedly been subjected to torture while in CIA custody elsewhere. Others, according to FBI witnesses, have endured abuse and "enhanced interrogation methods" at the hands of Guantanamo personnel. Now, for the first time in our country's history, information obtained through coercive means will be admissible in a court of law.

When even Col. Wendy Kelly, responsible for establishing an atmosphere of fairness, says she doubts that detainees have rights, the insidious premise of these proceedings is revealed: guilty until proven innocent.

Barbara Quintiliano

Malvern

Torture doesn't work

Information extracted during torture is always what the victim realizes the torturer wants to hear, with smidgens of the truth mixed in. In other words: It is worthless. If you believe otherwise, then you will also believe that thousands upon thousands of women in centuries past actually were witches and had sexual intercourse with the devil, because that's what they admitted to before being burned alive.

All of the "evidence" likely to be produced at those quasi-trials at Guantanamo (Inquirer, Dec. 9) is tainted and hence worthless. More than that, it is shameful to even bring it up. In this country, prosecutorial misconduct results in a mistrial and causes the accused to be set free. Legally and morally, that's the corner into which the incompetents in Washington have maneuvered us.

Michael C. Seidel

Chalfont

A matter of faith

Mark Bowden may not be a practicing Catholic, but I think he actually has faith; he just does not think he does ("A few arguments in favor of religion," Dec. 9). What he characterizes as hope, given the rest of what he says, comes perilously close to faith. He has certainly seen the ugliest side of humanity as a war correspondent but despite that, he has hope. It looks like faith to me.

Tom Durnell
Philadelphia
Tdurnell1@aol.com

Cost of 'sadness'

My reaction to the lead article in Currents, "Sadness is not a disorder" (Inquirer, Dec. 9), is that sometimes the answer to a complex question is a simple one.

Anyone who works in the mental-health field and depends on third-party payment for services knows that to get paid one must assign a qualifying diagnosis. For the vast majority of payers, depression is a qualifying diagnosis while normal sadness is not.

If someone wants to take advantage of his health insurance to help get over a rough patch of life, a diagnosis of depression, or at the very least adjustment disorder, is the price of admission. For the provider, this is not fraud, but survival.

Mark A. Rader
Marlton
doc.mark@comcast.net

Media politics

I am struggling with The Inquirer's assertion that Iran's uranium enrichment program is for electricity ("NIE and Bush: Talking to the hand," Dec. 9). On Dec. 8, a Wall Street Journal opinion piece stated, "There is no

civilian

purpose for such enrichment." This is a very important distinction and it raises the issue: Are news media playing with semantics for political purposes?

Brian Kelly
Jamison