Footage of captured American soldiers broadcast on Iraqi television violates the Geneva Convention, says the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The videotape shows four men and a woman being questioned, and contains pictures of men in US army uniform, shown dead on a floor.
The footage, which received a worldwide airing on the Arabic TV station al-Jazeera, has been condemned by the US and British governments, and by commanders of US-led coalition forces in Iraq.
Last week, pictures of surrendering Iraqi soldiers were shown across the world.
Should the videotape have been broadcast?
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
Yes they should show them, all of them. Both sides are accountable. If all the prisoners were displayed in other wars we would not have so many unaccountable soldiers. This way we know when they go missing where they are. As far as the Iraqi people, so many come up missing everyday from Saddam's aggression, it would be at least comforting to know they are not dead in the desert someplace. Or just "missing", mutilated or enslaved.
If all the prisoners were displayed in other wars we would not have so many unaccountable soldiers
The US showed the POW of the Iraqis and there was no argument and now the Iraqis show the POW of the US and there is controversy. I think it should be shown dependent on the views of the Geneva Convention taking into consideration that the US has aired the POW of Iraq.
Christos Brown, Jamaica
It is shame for America to open it's mouth saying showing the PoWs picture is illegal, don't they realise the invasion of Iraq is illegal, and they are waging the invasion by braking international law's, conventions and the charter of the United Nations.
In Colombia We live in an internal war, constantly we are seeing prisoners of war on TV. The Al Jazeera web shows people and children dead. Show dead children it should not permit. Is the tragedy of all wars.
Jorge Navarro, COLOMBIA
It is our choice whether or not to see the video. Like everything else if you don't like it turn off the TV. I will say that anyone who wants to view this video is full of hatred, horrifically sick in the head, and inhumane. God Bless President G W Bush and his resolve to keep me and my family safe. Don't mess with the U.S.
Like everything else if you don't like it turn off the TV
Kathy, Texas, USA
Yes, show them on TV by all means. The US Army is not a conscript army - people volunteer to serve. And so if they choose to invade a country that has done their country no harm, then they deserve to be punished in a manner the Iraqis see fit.
I would fully support the US feelings about the treatment of their troops when captured by Iraqi forces if I thought the US always followed international law when dealing with prisoners. I forgot the US refused to sign up to international treats in regards to war crimes. May be there should be a total ban from showing prisoners of war from all sides. I've seen 65 pictures of Iraq prisoners of war, and two showing Coalition prisoners.
Tyne & Wear, UK
Absolutely. The US television networks are only so happy to show Iraq POWs. Of course they are treated humanely according to the Geneva Convention. So why should US television not give both sides of the story? They should show bodies of dead soldiers on both sides and American and British POWs. Good journalism is balanced and shows the "good" with the "bad". I am not blood thirsty but I do believe I have a right to know what is really going on and so do the citizens of the US and Britain. Afterwards, they can decide for themselves how well the war is going.
Good journalism is balanced and shows the "good" with the "bad"
Bob Ross, Canada
Yes, I would want to know where my son or daughter is rather than for that to be in question and also to know exactly what is going on with regards to the reality and truth of War and the consequences of evil. I pray for these soldiers and for the innocent losses of life.
Michelle Connally, USA
I don't think that is right to show the PoW pictures, because of their family. I hope that they will be free as soon as possible!
The media coverage we've been experiencing for the past six days is something like a football game being shown live, and the journalists covering it are the commentators. If we really think about who started it and why; well, it's all very clear. If Iraq show PoWs on TV it's wrong, and if US media show pictures of dead or wounded children it's considered reporting. This is just more proof of how hypocritical USA is.
The media coverage we've been experiencing for the past six days is something like a football game being shown live
Sardar, TN, USA
I don't think its right, but if they can show the military bombing the cities in Iraq (knowing people are being killed or injured from those attacks), then I don't see how the PoWs are exempt from the exploitation. Just as someone else said, this is a "shock and awe" campaign that has everyone suffering.
Showing Iraqi PoWs on their hands and knees is ok, while showing a wounded American PoW on the other had in not? How do you people think? If the act is wrong, it's wrong, no matter who is doing it. And I believe showing PoWs on TV is wrong. There is no evidence that the American PoWs have been tortured.
Why not show it? At least their families will know that they are still alive. Actually, I am for having cameras installed in PoW camps so that people can see if PoWs are treated appropriately. And by the way, captured terrorists are not PoWs; they are criminals.
It is not right to show PoWs but Iraqi is justified in doing so since there is nothing legal about the war. It is without UN sanction, it is war in the jungle. Also, America showed PoWs in Afghanistan. Those who live in glass houses should not through stones.
Those who live in glass houses should not through stones
I honestly don't see what's wrong with it so long as we don't see the PoWs being maltreated. In any case, I think it's hypocritical for the US and Britain to play down the relevance of the UN because they weren't receiving the support they needed while at the same time referring to the Geneva Convention only because they see it as serving their interest. Again, which UN Convention authorises any country to seek to kill the President of another country?
Kwame Kumi, Switzerland
When the Afghan PoWs were shackled and put in cages, no one invoked Geneva Convention. When bombs and missiles rained on Iraqi children and women, wounding, killing and maiming them, international law was ignored. When the Western Media paraded Iraqis PoWs in humiliating conditions (barefooted and arms raised above their heads), Rumsfield, Blair and Bush did not say a word. Now why suddenly the fuss about Geneva Convention when a few PoWs being shown on Iraqi TV and al-Jazeera? Double standards and hypocritical stands will not lead you anywhere.
Omar Yaakob, Malaysia
Well it's ethically not right, but when Mr Bush can overrule UN resolutions and suggestions of other nations then it's inappropriate to blame Iraq for this.
Is it right to show PoWs? Yes, we should report all the horror of war so that generations will know war is not a game. I think the reporters out there are the brave ones risking there lives to report the truth.
R Keedwell, UK
The fact that the American media is showing footage of hundreds of surrendering Iraqi's and the mass destruction of their cities provides justification for the parading of American troops and the possibly overuse of the Apache helicopter crash. Prisoners on both sides should be treated according to the Geneva Convention.
Prisoners on both sides should be treated according to the Geneva Convention
Who would you rather be captured by in this conflict? The US will supply a PoW with food and water, medical aid, and neither torture or humiliate them. Can you say the same of Saddam's PoWs? Saddam runs brutal regime that the entire civilised world should be appalled at.
Absolutely. Let's see war in all its glory. Isn't that what some Americans meant by 'Shock & Awe', or does it suddenly become distasteful when it doesn't quite go according to plan? This senseless war has shown us that the UN is completely irrelevant. America leads. The rest of the world must follow. They (and the UK) must be so proud of their latest contribution to making the world a better place.
V. Awiti, Kenya
I feel that the particular images of the American PoWs and possible dead were out of line and used as a trophy, a propaganda weapon. God be with them at this time of trial.
Jim, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
If it's good for the American to show the world that they are doing some progress on the ground and capturing Iraqi soldiers, searching their clothes and tying there hands behind there backs; so for sure the Iraqi's have the right to show the world that they are not an easy country to be occupied and can do the same. At least their family will know that they are alive.
Pictures and video footage should be shown, it's showing us what is going on. Talks are going on, which we will like to believe but we need the evidence as well as they do. I feel strongly about the news being reported back into schools, young people's parents may be over there. It's an important obligation, which the world should all know the clear facts on.
Talks are going on, which we will like to believe but we need the evidence as well as they do
I'm very surprised to have heard President Bush talking about the Geneva Convention. I surely believe that it was the capture of PoWs that was shown on TV and nothing bad was said about that so why should Bush be worried about the violation of the Geneva Convention after he Bush had violated the UN (The entire world?) PoWs should be shown on TV any time any where for the world to see how bad war is. The coalition forces should watch their movements. Going to Baghdad to fight in built-up areas will cost them a lot of dead and wounded.
If America denies the PoWs are being held then the Iraqis had to show the PoWs captive as this is all part of the propaganda war of both sides. Just think of those captured Taliban PoWs that America has mistreated and paraded with hands tied and questioned.
Mr M ,
I think that what Iraq are doing is wrong according to Geneva Convention, but it is also true that is has become necessary for them to do so to encourage their soldiers and to show their people that Iraq is fighting their enemy and not surrendering. It also shows America that Iraqi's are capable of fighting.
Muffadal Kothari, India
America does not want the public to be aware of military failure, especially when it can damage public moral and dismiss claims for almost invincibility of their alleged technical superiority. Images were shown of Guantanamo prisoners for whom Geneva conventions, apparently, were not applicable. It is all a clear example of American double standards.
Along with the Bible, the Geneva Convention resolutions are interpreted in many different ways - mainly to suit the individual trying to make their point. However, after seeing the horrendous pictures the Iraqis released of dead American troops, I feel they went too far. As for showing the captured 'live' PoWs I feel, while they showed very frightened people, if I was one of their family members I would have loved to see my loved one alive.
I believe it is wrong for Iraq to show those PoWs. It is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention. However, I am a bit disturbed by US reactions. Remember Camp X ray people? What goes around comes around. Do not impose actions on others that you yourself resist. As the US have chosen to ignore the Geneva Convention, US now has lost the right to invoke it 'morally'.
As the US have chosen to ignore the Geneva Convention, US now has lost the right to invoke it 'morally'
Thomas, London, UK
It is better that the truth be clearly known, no matter how painful, rather than rumour and lies go unchecked.
Thomas Sawyer, USA
The USA have shown Iraqi PoWs on TV. Are USA PoWs different from other PoWs? I hope that this is not the case. It is completely understandable to show PoWs; it is a war, what do people expect from it? We all do not want it but we can not only focus on specific issues and forget about the big picture, all the civilians dying, natural resources being depleted, economies devastated, Environmental degradation and impacts to the international affairs of countries.
I would say if it is the violation of Geneva convention then Iraq should not do it. But there is one thing important; US and Britain do not have right to say Iraq should follow international law because they themselves broke the international law by bypassing UN Security Council.
Faran khan, Pakistan
Using PoWs as a propaganda weapon is in my view a violation of the Geneva convention. A violation not by the media for showing it, but by the Iraqi regime for allowing it to be shown. Let's just hope this war will be over as soon as possible and let's pray for all the families involved and the safe return of all PoWs, whatever side they belong to.
If it is right to attack another country, with totally selfish motives, then let everybody see what is actually happening. Otherwise, it's all fabricated stories to serve its own purpose.
Ahsan Ul Haque, India
It's time we realise that the war affects us as much as it does our so-called foes. For weeks we have seen the proud display of our attack capability and ruthless killing machines on TV. And our media talks about the positive things about the war - supporting the government decision, instead of taking a neutral position and clearly talking about the damages we might suffer. The airing of the PoWs will open us to the cruel realities of war and make us see sense. It pains the Iraqi men, women and children as much as it does us Americans.
It was barbaric to show the POWs on the Iraqi TV while being interrogated and humiliated, which truly shows the ugly face of the dictatorial regime of Saddam. On the other hand, it was seen how US & British allies provided food & first aid to the Iraqi injured POWs.
It was barbaric to show the POWs on the Iraqi TV
Iqbal Sayed, Kuwait
Show them by all means. For those who say nay, it's like kicking someone and then yelling at them because your toe hurts.
This is just Iraqis regime trying to hold on to their power. If they don't care about their own people do you really think they care about ours? As far as Guantanamo Bay is concerned if you other countries want these terrorist running around in your country then I say take them and make sure they never step on US soil again.
I gather that most of you think that showing the footage of the POWs is gruesome? Did any of you see the Iraqi kid who was a victim of the bombings in Basra.. the kid's head was blown off.. isn't that gruesome?
Oh Yes. Let the world see how POW's are being treated. Let the world see how Saddam's men torture POW's, while the USA is feeding his army, taking care of his people.
Gail Hoover, USA
Since the complaint about the treatment of POWs the regime in IRAQ has moderated its behaviour. Showing it is at least responsive to international opinion, international law and a smooth operator in the media war. It's a pity Donald Rumsfeld's regime isn't. If the current US administration wants to be taken seriously with regard to international law it needs to sign up to a few international treaties; process the captives at Guantanamo bay and shut it down.
Joe Wilkinson, UK
I really salute the people in this forum who are from the US and UK who oppose this war. War is something no one should ever cheer for I have nothing to add but say that if it is OK for CNN it's OK for Al Jazira..please at least have the decency to have some pity on those poor innocent civilians who for no fault of theirs are being bombed.
It is wrong to do so. However, if I have ignored, even scorned, international conventions right, left and centre, I forfeit the right to turn around and invoke one particular one just because it meets my immediate needs. Let the rest of the world criticize it, but not, for heaven's sake, the U.S. Government.
Let the rest of the world criticize it, but not the U.S. Government
I just can't imagine what it must have felt like for the parents of the captured US soldiers, to have seen their sons and daughter so obviously in shock and terrified and unable to do anything for them. It was upsetting enough for me to have to watch this outrage. My thoughts and prayers are with those poor soldiers and their families.
Lisa Stewart, UK
There was no harm in showing the American PoWs just as they paraded Iraq's PoWs a point recognised by some of the respondents. Surely, observation of international laws does make sense when it is in the interest of the US government. As a member of the medical profession, I feel the Red Cross is also not doing the organisation any favours by allowing itself to be caught up in Americans propaganda war. One wonders why it took the parade of US PoW for the Red Cross to recognise its expertise on the conducts of international wars and to comment on their legalities.
I saw the footage were the Iraqi POWs are hand taped or tagged back and asked to sit on knee in front of the TV camera in their own country. And the footage of the USA POW with free hand and sitting or laying on bed. Which one is more humane?
Self-defence is not a war crime. It is not a war crime to provide evidence when coalition forces deny even having lost any troops or aircraft. Do we have to go to Saddam to get the truth? He hasn't dodged or misstated a fact yet.
It isn't a war crime to provide evidence when coalition forces deny loss of any troops
It is not only against the conventions, but is immoral to parade PoW's before the world. We should block Iraqi TV from getting out of their country with their "news".
Jan Kinnard, USA
There is absolutely no violation in showing those soldiers on the Iraqi TV, the main violation is to go to war with the UN approval.
To all those people who claim that the detainees in Cuba are terrorists and thus, not POW, so are the US soldiers...they are engaged in an illegal attack on a sovereign country and yes, they have also murdered innocent civilians. This is not a war for self-defence nor it is approved by the UN...it is completely illegal and immoral and every bit unjust like the 9/11 attacks.
S.A. Hassan, USA
When Iraq said that it had captured US soldiers the US lied and said that none was missing. It therefore showed them on TV. The US has tortured prisoners in Guantanamo Bay (and is quite proud of the fact). These prisoners should be grateful that they were captured by Iraq, not by the US.
Sally Amis, Czech Republic
Showing POW's on TV is the act of desperate men. If that's the best they can come up with, the end is closer than is now known.
Showing POW's on TV is the act of desperate men
Martin Dawson, USA
The Iraqi people are just defending their nation from what they would consider as illegal invaders. These ruthless invaders did not obey the UN. So why should the poor Iraqis have to start obeying the Geneva Convention all of a sudden. The fact that the US is even mentioning the Geneva Convention proves what kind of racist hypocrites they can be.
The shown dead US troopers, with a bullet hole in the middle of the forehead, obviously brutally murdered after capture. It shows, clearer than anything else, beyond all the pious noises emanating Iraq, who the Iraqis really are and what Iraq is. My heart goes out to families of these victims, but the showing of these pictures does serve a purpose. It shows the true nature of the beast and it hardens our resolve.
Showing pictures of POWs is OK, it allows loved ones to know they're alive, but the questioning/interrogation should not have been done.
This footage should not be shown. This coverage stiffens our resolve and we should hit much harder.
Doug Gibson, UK
As a Vietnam veteran who had seen combat I have no problem with this question. The Geneva Conventions articles on this matter are subject to interpretation, as the articles give no detail or examples of explanatory information. If the soldier(s) were being shown while being tortured then that is a very much different matter, but to be shown while being verbally interrogated (minimal interrogation) I find nothing wrong with. Matter of fact, I find such televised showings as motivation for retaliation and rallying against the captors.
I find such televised showings as motivation for retaliation and rallying against the captors
Bennie Walton, Denver CO, USA
Bennie Walton, Denver CO, USA
Do all these people who say its wrong to parade US soldiers see the news at all? Is it right to show bombs dropping on Baghdad? People are dying when the bomb hits the ground. And what about the Guantanamo Bay Prisoners who are shackled 24/7 they are being treated inhumanely, why have they not been tried? Why the double standards?
Let's do comparisons: The US shows Iraqi soldiers alive, clothed, fed. Iraq shows dead and/or alive soldiers, interrogated, being assaulted. In reply to comments about Guantanamo Bay the "POW's" are terrorists who deliberately murdered 3000 innocent office workers during peacetime.
Jane, UK: You think the Iraqi POWs aren't interrogated? I think you are seeing different footage to me, because I haven't seen any American POWs assaulted. The American POWs looked worried, but healthy. As for your claim about POWs in Guantanamo Bay - what you say is slanderous. You say they are terrorists and murderers - what proof to do have for this? If they have been found guilty of this, when was the trial? Why aren't they in prison then? Why are they in a state of limbo that's neither pending prosecution, pending sentencing, or free?
It is important that the Geneva Conventions are followed by all parties in a war. If the Iraqis break the convention and follow the new precedents created for handling POWs on Guantanamo bay, I certainly understand that the US will condemn it as war crimes.
Personally, if I were captured, I would want to be on TV so that my family could see I was alive. And I would say what was required to keep me alive too. The fact that those soldiers have been captured there, shows their commitment to the US/UK coalition outside of the UN.
WH - London, UK
Showing the footage of these soldiers, Iraq is not only violating the international rules but giving a wrong message to other nations.
Tulsi Nair, India
The American television networks have been showing captured Iraqi prisoners with great glee. So, why isn't the international community complaining that the Americans have violated the Geneva Convention? Can you really blame a people that has been experiencing violent bombing night after night not to show who is responsible for it? War is ugly and dehumanizing and we should be shown this. Perhaps it would change opinions about this war.
The American television networks have been showing captured Iraqi prisoners with great glee
We have seen Iraqi prisoners on TV, why the concentration on the US ones? Just because we are now in the war people seem to think that we should all fully support it.
Craig Huggans, England
When the Iraqi government was claiming that it had captured prisoners of war, the US was demanding that they show them as proof. Now that it has happened, they say that this is a war crime. I don't know whether or not they were right to do it, but in the context of media coverage in which only hard proof is accepted, you can see why they did.
Fact is, just as there is a war on the ground there is also a war going on to win over the hearts and minds of the people around the world. Shocking as it is, right now Iraq appears to be winning that war. Naturally Americans think it's not fair.
As long as the TV and radio stations are allowed to operate, the regime will use such propaganda to its fullest. As most Iraqis will not be able to see or hear any Western media broadcasts, they will easily be brainwashed into thinking that all's well and getting better for their regime. This in turn emboldens them, making it more difficult for the coalition forces who have to distinguish the civilians from the Iraqi forces.
The propaganda machine is on full power on both sides. What is propaganda for the enemy is propaganda for the US. If Iraq is in breech of the Geneva Convention then why do we continue to see this violation perpetuated on UK/US TV? The public understands the breech, but much like 9-11 we continue to see the media sensationalizing this footage persistently. I'm confident that many UK/US civilians do not tune into Al-jazeera, if they had been doing so there would be a bigger outcry at the horrendous footage of dead Iraqi's killed by the bombing. Such broadcasts are neatly censored by the UK/US media and the government, but you only have to visit the Al-Jazeera website to see other atrocities that have been broadcast, far more horrifying than these POW's.
What is propaganda for the enemy is propaganda for the US
Justin, London, UK
It may seem inhuman and inappropriate to show POWs or dead combatants on TV. But it shook me off my indifference about the lost of lives in general. It made me feel and realize how ugly war is.
Angeles City, Philippines
This is a propaganda war as much as a military one.
As someone who supports the US and UK in their campaign in Iraq, I do not believe it is right for POWs to be paraded on the television. However, I have also to question the status of prisoners held by the US at Guantanamo Cuba... this prolonged detention without charge cannot be right.
This is a play and everything has to shown. The play with missing parts is not enjoyable for any party involved.
SASF, Qateef, KSA
No it is not right. UK and USA images have shown Iraqi prisoners being well looked after. None have been interviewed, harassed or identified. The images we see of the soldiers on Iraqi TV show dazed and bewildered men and women, being harassed. They look weak. For the families it must be the most awful experience to watch their loved ones in this manner.
For the families it must be the most awful experience to watch their loved ones in this manner.
To draw parallels between the Iraqi prisoners of war and the USA prisoners of war is ridiculous.
Laura, Wiltshire, UK
The governments should NOT be able to pick and choose what media can/cannot be shown to the public. That would mean worse propaganda than we already have on our screens and in the newspapers. Besides, the Pro-war side should get to see the reality of going to war. And as for trying to say it is against the Geneva Convention - well that's rich since this whole war is internationally illegal.
I'd say why not? I don't see the difference with CNN showing whole parts of cities burning and being bombed and cheering about it. This might have the advantage that it can show the American people that even a clean war is dirty.
This being said, I live with the POWs and with all other victims on whatever side.
That the pictures are being shown by the Hussein regime is no surprise. What comes as a disgusting addition is the scramble of Western journalists to compound the offence by repeating the broadcasts. They don't care for the families of those captured/killed, and shame themselves by their bandwagon mentality.
Western journalists compound the offence
David Phillips, UK
Western media seem to think everything transmitted by means other than 'authorised' or 'recognised' by them, is wrong. Whilst it is wrong to air disturbing pictures of POWs, is it any worse than showing B52s, tornados and various other killing machines raining bombs on the targets below? Be honest folks, what do you think is happening when they explode? Women, men, children, are being destroyed. They don't think that's wrong do they?
Sal, East Ham, London
There is a difference. Iraqi POWs are being fed and given medical treatment and protection by the allies. US troops have been interrogated in the public eye and humiliated. The Iraqis took great joy in showing dead soldiers, some of whom appeared to have been executed. So, whilst you may argue that Iraqi TV is doing nothing different to what we have seen on BBC, Sky, ITV etc - there is a fundamental difference in the treatment of POWs and motives behind the TV pictures.
Yes, Americans need to see the reality of war and what happens to the soldiers. There is a difference in knowing the path and walking the path of war. America is now being forced to grow up and wear a few wrinkles.
Kristy Rice, USA
Show all captured enemy soldiers, but treat them in a humane way. Give them a right to speech.
Alex, Serbia and Montenegro
The US reaction to the videotape was a knee-jerk response to the first really negative coverage of this conflict that could unsettle opinion at home. Unfortunately the US and UK media have been unwilling to draw the obvious comparisons with Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay and thus the media once again cowers to the invading coalition.
Geoff Maguire, Ireland
It is improper to show POWs on TV, but neither the coalition nor Iraqi authorities have followed the Geneva Convention. All POWs deserve humane respect and treatment. They are simply carrying orders, they must not be physically or mentally punished!
It is improper to show POWs on TV
Sher Singh Parmar, India
If it is wrong to show POWs why have the US started to show Iraqi POWs? What is correct for them is not correct for others? Why is broadcasting live images of bombing the cities and the war as a movie not criticised? It seems broadcasting the city on fire is correct but broadcasting the images of POWs is not. Broadcasting the pulling down of the Iraqi flag and putting up the US flag instead is also not correct.
No, POWs should not be shown.
I love it. Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and their gang hold hundreds of people in cages in Cuba and invite TV to show the world. Iraq displays five POWs on TV and is accused of war crimes. I hold no brief for the murderous Saddam Hussein, but let's try to keep a grasp on reality. The criminals here include the leaders of the illegal invasion.
Hong Kong, China
No, the tape of US prisoners should not have been broadcast as it was nothing short of crude propaganda. Our press should have learnt from the parades of downed, beaten up pilots 12 years ago and not broadcast these images. However, I believe that the pictures of Iraqi prisoners shown so far were acceptable. The difference is that the Iraqis were not being interviewed or identified in front of the world's media.
It was nothing short of crude propaganda
Instead we were shown anonymous, disarmed prisoners, away from immediate danger, being fed and watered and receiving medical attention. All of which clearly demonstrates that the coalition are adhering to the demands of the Geneva Convention. In contrast, at least one of the US captives was obviously wounded in the right abdomen with no sign of that wound having been treated. As for the example of Camp X-Ray inmates being cited as an example of US abuse; those men are terrorist suspects, not lawful combatants and as such the Geneva Convention should not apply. Even if the US was in breach in Cuba that does not justify the Iraqi stance on this occasion.
James, Shropshire, UK
They should be shown because it lets loved ones know that their sons and husbands are safe. It also shows the world that all is not going according to the Rumsfeld Plan. If the bombing is so precise in Baghdad how was it possible that a civilian bus carrying Syrians was hit by a missile, killing five? The US and the UK are being more than a bit hypocritical by condemning footage of POWs taken by Iraq when they themselves are conducting a war without a proper UN resolution.
Paul J Pekar,
We have all seen what happened to US POWs in Afghanistan. The stories of beating up people and humiliation were loudly spoken to the world. I do not remember that anyone was prosecuted in US Army for those war crimes. While Guantanamo is another, even more radical, story.
Valerij Juresic, Croatia
The violation occurs when the POW is displayed or paraded, not when a photograph or video captures images which includes wounded or killed POWs. For POWs the war is over. Imprison them and release them after cessation of hostilities. They do not deserve to be humiliated. The terrorist suspects in US custody are not POWs and do not fall under the conventions.
They do not deserve to be humiliated
If the US and their allies are showing the progress of the war live on TV why shouldn't the Iraqis show their catch live? Now they are chanting about the Geneva Convention when they were the first to breach UN's agreement.
Harold O Johnson,
POW pictures should be shown to uncover US lies that the war is going to take 4-5 days and the Iraqis are going to welcome them. Do not forget that the Americans started showing their prisoners first. The question remains from the last war in Afghanistan: did the US treat the Taliban POWs under any international convention?
Pictures of Afghan prisoners held in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo Bay were all over the news. The US never said it was against the Geneva Convention. Plus the US and UK soldiers held are not prisoners of war, they are foreign combatants and are therefore not covered by the Geneva Convention. That was the US excuse anyway. There is nothing like a taste of one's own medicine.
Damien Michelin, US
Under the Geneva Convention, no pictures of prisoners of war should be broadcast. The coalition, as well as the Iraqis, has violated this agreement.
Adias Teddy, Nigeria
What war? The US and UK did not officially declare war on Iraq so legally there is no war, only an "intervention". Double standards are being used. What happened to equality and justice for all? Does the US respect the Geneva Convention with its off-shore prisoners? Serbia and Montenegro were bombed by Nato four years ago today without the approval of the UN. Legally, that wasn't war either, but it set the precedent that justifies the current war in Western law.
Those close-up Iraqi TV pictures of the captured American soldiers being questioned by their captors near the sprawled bodies of four of their comrades I believe are too grisly for viewers to handle. It contravenes the rules set under the Geneva Convention re. the treatment of POWs. But most international media seemed not to care about it at all.
They are too grisly for viewers to handle
Paulina G, Poland
Appalling, the double standards we adhere to as a nation. Reality is that POW footage has been used in every war as a propaganda tool. The US is a huge offender of the Geneva Convention, not only in Guantanamo Bay, but let's not forget the slaughter of some 600 POWs outside of Mazar-i-Sharif in November 2001 which the US media conveniently swept under the rug. If the war is "too real" for American eyes, then perhaps they should change the channel. These are the realities of war and they should be exposed to make one think before casting a vote when choosing leaders. History forgets nothing.
The video should be shown because people need to be constantly reminded that war is not at all an antiseptic endeavour.
Michael Walter, USA
I think this is a "freedom of the press" issue. Whilst no-one wants to see humans suffering or paraded like animals, it's the press's duty to present all the data and facts. It's the consumers' responsibility to process this and decide what to do with it. I'd hate to be spoon fed any government propaganda that was unashamedly one sided. It's a war and we need to know what both sides are doing.
The actions of the Iraqis violates the Geneva Convention in that the sole purpose is to humiliate them and create a public curiosity of the captured men and women. The US/UK treatment of Iraqi soldiers is entirely different than the Iraqi "use" of disoriented and fearful soldiers in Iraqi custody.
The sole purpose is to humiliate the captured men and women
America is a shining example of democracy which abides by international laws and treaties. What it did in Guantanamo Bay with POWs from Afghanistan was well acceptable within Geneva conventions. The pictures of Iraqi POWs captured by coalition forces are also sanctioned by Geneva conventions. But with respect to Iraq showing pictures of POWs they've captured, it's unacceptable. What a big irony!
Yes, the videotape should have been broadcast. Not to let us see the horrors of war, but the brutality of the republican guards of Saddam's regime. I am convinced that the coalition forces are fighting our fight because the Iraqi people are tired and powerless against Saddam's machines. The time will come very soon when the Iraqi people will cheer the coalition forces.
Ayar, Manchester, UK
It was proper to expose them as the Americans exposed the Iraqis! Can anybody explain to me how the US can advocate international democracy, while at the same time refuse to endorse the international law court for fear of US citizens facing trials in such courts?
It was proper to expose them as the Americans exposed the Iraqis
George T, Stockholm, Sweden
George T, Stockholm, Sweden
Absolutely not. There is a substantial difference between showing mere seconds of a line of surrendering troops, and showing minutes of dead soldiers up close, and interrogations where each individual soldier is asked to ID themselves in front of a public audience. It is disgraceful, and so is trying to equate it to what the coalition troops are releasing to the media.
Xavier, Ottawa, Canada
Some of these conventions are inept. Times have changed, we live in the information age. It's what we see and hear today that equips us in making sober decisions tomorrow, and therefore nothing should be censored. Thanks to the technological advances, it's now easy to disseminate information to the whole world in seconds. The UK Government is quick to condemn Iraq for contravening international law, yet the very war they fight is very much in contravention.
Davis Motlhako, South Africa
It's amazing how the US and UK invoke double standards. We are involved in an illegal war and guilty of killing innocent civilians which is tantamount to war crimes and then we talk about Geneva Conventions when it comes to our POWs. Absolutely, the pictures must be shown since the US public gets a censored view from our own biased media. We need to see what our government is doing to other countries and how it's putting our own boys through hell for oil profits and world hegemony.
B Ishtiak, USA
Talk about comparing apples and oranges! Do you think showing pictures of surrendering Iraqis is really comparable to the video footage of executed and tortured POWs? I can assure you that, if footage of tortured and executed Iraqis were shown in the US, there would be an absolute revolt. We are actually a very caring and compassionate people. We understand that some of the Iraqis hate us, but many more need our help. If people really feel the need to view this footage, they can go on the net and find it. Putting it out there as a public display is wrong and unlawful.
If footage of tortured and executed Iraqis were shown in the US, there would be an absolute revolt
I see no reason why the video should not have been aired. Like others have said, the Americans showed the Iraqi prisoners without any problem. This is war, a wrong one, but nonetheless a war. War is hell and it isn't fair. Bring them home soon. Peace.
Geneva Conventions are secondary to a UN security council mandate, which the US thrashed, and now it calls for going by the rules again. Talk about double standards! At least by showing the footage the family can know about their loved ones, or else the US would declare them "unaccounted for", causing more trauma.
I think the US is in no position to point out international law violations, since this war is illegal and violates UN charter. And what about the human rights of 600 prisoners in Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba? Clearly that is in violation of Geneva Convention too.
Is it right to show PoWs? You can be sure that there is no violation of basic human needs and rights or any harm being done to the POWs after they are captured. It simply lets the international community know the state of the POWs at the time of their capture.
It simply lets the international community know the state of the POWs at the time of their capture
I do not believe that it is right to show the pictures of American/British POWs. As long as the USA treats the prisoners from Iraq with respect, our POWs should be given the same treatment.
Edward V Sullivan, USA
It is said that Iraq has violated the Geneva Convention, but are the allied forces not in violation of countless conventions? Why is it not acceptable for the Iraqis to show POWs when all we see on the Western news programs are Iraqi POWs?
No, the families are probably scared enough.
Of course the video should be broadcast. It's a matter of public information available in a free society. Forget Bush!
Ethel Steadman, USA
Yes, the footage should be shown so that Americans who support Bush's war can see the consequences of sending troops into war. War is hell, not an interactive video game.
War is hell, not an interactive video game
Carol Lynn Collins,
Some have said here they "do not see the difference between the video of the American POWs and the Iraqi POWs". There is a distinct difference. The Iraqis are not being publicly identified, questioned or humiliated.
David Pryke, England
As my son says "This is war." Are there really rules of engagement in war? I don't see why our president gets so upset with it, as in our country the media shows pictures of dead people on TV and in the newspapers all the time. Where has the compassion for life gone?
Pam Cumberlander, USA
It is an outrage. I have seen the video of the dead troops and I cannot remember our guys executing people and then letting the BBC do a TV special. To me it justifies the war even more.
My answer is simply this: Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.
It is absolutely abhorrent to show these pictures. Remember they are frightened human beings. By comparing this with other human rights violations in the past and using those as justification, these mothers, fathers, sons etc become mere pawns in a propaganda war. We should not condone this treatment if we wish to call ourselves civilised.
Caroline Jenner, UK
I disagree completely with showing footage of PoWs. However Bush and Blair sound a bit strange saying that it violates international agreements after they ignored perhaps the biggest international agreement - the UN's resolution.
Bush and Blair sound a bit strange saying that it violates international agreements after they ignored perhaps the biggest international agreement
Aldo Giannone, UK
No POWs should not be humiliated in this way and neither should Iraqi prisoners. Why does the US think one law applies to their actions and another to everyone else in the world?
Bill Scott, Scotland
I think it is hypocritical for people to say that we cannot show the footage of the American soldiers, but yet we can show the pictures of the Iraqis. If you want to be fair, show both or show neither. Or possibly some people are upset because it shows those who support this war that they might be wrong. Just a thought.
I don't see the difference between the video of American POWs and the videos we have been shown of thousands of Iraqis being led down roads with their hands on their head. Let's not forget that it is the allied forces who are the aggressors in Iraq - they invaded a country without provocation from its citizens.
Alex James, UK
Yes, the videotape should have been broadcast. The horrors of war should be exposed for all to see. All actions have consequences and we shouldn't be hidden from the consequences of our leaders' actions.
Perhaps not the bodies, but since the people that are being interviewed do not seem to be injured in anyway, I don't think there is any harm in showing the uncensored footage.
Piers Karsenbarg, UK
Unfortunately one of the first casualties of war is truth. The USA and the UK have the means to put across the messages they want throughout the world. Iraq has limited resources to do the same. Whatever Iraq says the USA will deny and the only way they can prove they have prisoners is to show proof. The USA has shown Iraq prisoners what is the difference?
Unfortunately one of the first casualties of war is truth
Ian Stewart, UK
Until the next of kin have been contacted, the pictures should be censored. In the same way that dead soldiers names are not released until the next of kin have been contacted.
Jamie Gordon, UK
There was absolutely NO reason to show the tape on TV. Think about the family members who saw that first instead of hearing it in person from the military.
Showing footage of POWs will be distressing for the families, but at least they know they are alive. However, it is not right to show them being questioned. Showing footage of POWs that have been killed is inhumane and simply distasteful. Give these brave men and women their dignity and respect their families.
Showing footage of POWs that have been killed is inhumane and simply distasteful
Under the Geneva Convention, no pictures of prisoners of war whatsoever should be broadcast.
This also applies to the pictures of Iraqi prisoners published by the coalition.
John C, UK
It's terribly wrong. But I cannot have been the only one to have seen coverage of a British soldier feeding water to an Iraqi prisoner of war, a gun to his head; nor the footage of another prisoner being searched at gunpoint; nor of a soldier being told to turn round and kneel down. All these too are in breach of the Geneva Convention. And what about the Cuban prisoners, whom the US government arbitrarily declared criminals caught red-handed, and who it holds without trial or any protection whatever? The laws apply to the US too.
If we (the allies) want our captured troops to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention, then we must set a better example to our enemies. That means not filming the surrendering of Iraqi soldiers, and not holding enemy combatants in wire cages for over a year without trial in Cuba. We may claim the higher moral ground, but unless we practice what we preach, we cannot expect the rest of the world to "fall into line".
We must set a better example to our enemies
R Johnson, UK
I think it is a disgrace showing these types of pictures. People who have friends and relatives out in the Gulf don't want to see how badly the troops are being treated.
Dave Warren, England
In the last month, America and its allies have seriously undermined international law. As a result the coalition has no longer any right to quote international laws and treaties such as the Geneva Convention with regard to the actions of others. Furthermore, the tightly controlled and partisan US news has completely failed to communicate the reality of war; its absurd Hollywood/ videogame like coverage (with its bespoke music and dramatic trailers of upcoming stories) is disgusting. While the Iraqi footage is unpleasant and undeniably manipulative, it does at least show another side of the war.
Fergus Kane, England
Both groups are using media as part of their war propaganda. The alliance forces are constantly using their means of communication to give certain messages to the public such as how well the troops are advancing, "no resistance", going "deep" in Iraq. The Iraqis on the other hand show civilian casualties and captured soldiers to make their point that, it's not so easy. I think it's wrong for both parties to resort to a cheap method of shaping public opinion. We want to know what's going on, not a load of rhetoric on who's right. Let us decide that.
Caner Uguz, Turkey
The US suddenly seem to remember the validity of Geneva Convention but cast your minds back not long ago when Afghan 'combatants' were seen in shackles heavily drugged and transported inhumanely to Guantanamo bay. Where was the Geneva Convention then?
Cast your minds back... to Guantanamo Bay
I saw the tape on al-Jazeera. I think that the US does not want the tape to be shown because it is an embarrassment for the Bush Administration. One US POW was asked of why he had come to Iraq. He said that he was "ordered to do so." It just does not show American soldiers as being clear about the reason for participating in the war. I also think that showing the video may help those who are opposed to the war, and may increase the demand of ending the war and bring the troops home.
We should not be showing pictures and videos of our troops in the media once they've been captured. The Geneva convention strictly prohibits this behaviour to protect these people from humiliation and propaganda value. By showing the pictures, our media are shamefully helping in breaking this rule and helping Saddam. The Iraq regime, their state controlled media, and most of the Arabian TV stations don't care about the rights of our troops, but there's no need for our media to copy them.
I believe they should have been censored. These men and women have families and the last thing the families need right now is to see their loved ones paraded on television. They will be sick with worry and seeing the broadcast will only make them feel worse. We can be told of the fact that these soldiers have been taken prisoner but we do not need graphic images of them on television. We condemn Saddam for showing them on television, and we are just as culpable if we proceed to broadcast it ourselves.
Laura Thomson, London, UK
I am amazed at the attitude of US and British media on this issue. I can clearly remember during the Afghanistan war where prisoners of the war were constantly interviewed while they were being handcuffed. It is the arrogance of Western media, where an American prisoner is considered more important than an Iraqi prisoner. Strange how quickly Blair remembered the Geneva convention when asked a question regarding this matter, despite of the fact that he didn't give a damn about the UN route in the end.
An American prisoner is considered more important than an Iraqi prisoner
Yousaf, England UK
President Bush should realise that with the continuing illegal detention of Afghan prisoners in Cuba he is already occupying the moral low ground and has no moral authority whatsoever.
This is a shocking and frightening thought that soldiers from the US are being shown on Iraqi television to boost moral for the Iraqi people, but then again, this is supposedly a war situation and if we are to believe what the US tell us about the complete and utter disrespect for life Saddam has are we really that surprised? It seems to me that we are quick to comment and not so quick to look at the terror and fear we are causing by being in Iraq.
Neither side should be showing footage of prisoners. The BBC website itself is breaching the convention by showing the stills of the US soldiers. All stations that show either the footage of US prisoners and/or Iraqi prisoners are breeching the convention.
Both sides are engaging in overt propaganda.
Yes it should have been shown. The fact that it has been filmed shows what the Iraqi military are like - it appears that they murder POWs and that they certainly humiliate them like a cat does with a mouse. Understanding that puts Saddam's regime into perspective. The footage will fuel anti-Iraq feeling. It may also be maliciously enjoyed at the POWs' expense by any of the audience who are anti American.
The fact that it has been filmed shows what the Iraqi military are like
I think it's important these images are not censored. There is a war going on affecting real people and we shouldn't allow ourselves to bury our heads in the sand. Those POWs looked terrified to me, and my heart goes out to them. Better we understand the implications of this war first hand than be accept a glossed over version fed to us.
Colin, Birmingham UK
The US have totally made a rod for their own back with the prisoners they hold in Cuba. From now on any country could decide to call prisoners unlawful combatants and do with them what they will. After all, there seems to be some disagreement if this was is even lawful
No - the videotape shouldn't have been broadcast by al-Jazeera, nor should the UK media be showing stills from it. By doing the latter, we are rewarding the Iraqi Government for making such footage and encouraging them to cause distress to other captured soldiers by making more. All we need is to be told that such footage is being put out by the Iraqi Government - we don't need to see it ourselves.
Simon Holroyd, UK
There is a world of difference between distant footage of groups of prisoners surrendering or being interned, and individuals being questioned and interviewed. Both are a part of the propaganda war, but one impinges on the privacy and dignity of individual prisoners. The Iraqis have a right to show that they have prisoners, but not to subject them to individual humiliation.
The Iraqis have a right to show that they have prisoners, but not to subject them to individual humiliation