To the editor:

“Political outrage” in your May 9 issue made an unpersuasive case for Donald Rumsfeld’s victim status.

The editorial implies that vindictive Democrats and liberal journalists are ganging up on the defense secretary for base political reasons. But where some people see conspiracy, others find a legitimate demand for accountability.

Moreover, the author left out the fact that Rumsfeld has many detractors among current and former military leaders. One such dissenter is ex-Navy Secretary (under Reagan) and decorated Vietnam veteran James Webb.

Recently, Webb spoke at Kansas University, condemning the war and Rumsfeld in particular for his disrespect toward military experts — like former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki — who raised doubts about the Iraq war. Webb came close to calling for Rumsfeld’s ouster, and this was before the Abu Ghraib scandal.

The editorial also suggests that if the Iraqis were abused, then they had it coming. Apparently the multiple military investigations, and the condemnations from the Red Cross, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Colin Powell and Rumsfeld himself don’t mean much.

Nice try, but Rumsfeld isn’t the victim in this scandal. That role belongs to the Iraqis and to the Americans who are conducting themselves ethically and professionally.

The author and I do agree on one point: Rumsfeld should stay put. That way, he will remain accountable for his war, and the American voter will decide in November whether to fire him and his boss.

Ray Pence,