The writer expresses a distasteful attitude in this paper. He is agitated by the injustice in the judicial system where an innocent man is sacrificed and the truth is compromised. He also expresses disbelief n a sarcastic way that the president himself is ignorant of how the system he oversees operates especially regarding a matter that has caused massive public attention. He views the excuse that the president is but a victim of protocol and the constitution as being lame. Also the judiciary system attempts to convict an innocent man so as to protect self-vested interests as inhumane and intolerable. He is angry because the media sworn to convey the truth, uses the same to tell unreliable and imposed information.
The letter is written specifically to protect Dreyfus who is a mere victim of injustice. The writer points out some of the malpractices that have led to his circumstances. Specifically he blames colonel du Paty de Clam of using his position wrongfully. It is seen that he initially was a major but has managed to rise to be a colonel. Also it seems that he and Dreyfus had some unsettled qualms in the past and he manipulates this to settle his scores. He is seen to manipulate the media by bribing and feeding them with the wrong ideas to be publicized sending a falsified signal which is totally different from the actual truth. Aside from that he conducts insincere investigation regarding the case which he is the head by acquiring unascertained evidence like mysterious women who confess at night. He provides impossible terms that can only prove Dreyfus innocent like the fact that all staff at the war office have to be declared guilty in exchange for his freedom.
If all this is tabled and considered attentively it would prove Dreyfus innocent and the colonel would be seen as being the one who conceived the idea of dictating the bordereau to Dreyfus. Also the courageous act of Zola who seemingly holds a high position in governance to stand up for Dreyfus would drive the systems to know the truth that lies beneath ( he does not fear going to jail for slander.
Several ways in which justice is compromised are pointed out in the letter. The president is unable to protect human rights by not being able to distinguish between the guilty and the just. The lieutenant doctors the judicial system to cover up his wrongdoings. Zoka points out that he lend him a hand in conducting injustice for the past three years. General Mercier also acts as an accomplice to the acts in conjunction with the lieutenant. Acts of evidence suppression (it would set Dreyfus free) for political reasons and to save the war office staff by general Billot are evident. Partial inquiry that show naive audacity, fraudulent reports by the press that cause the public get reactive and intolerant and collaboration by the councils of war that all obstruct justice are conducted. All these indicate the level of injustice present in the society in the setting.
Zola insists on the fact that Dreyfus practices Judaism. It is important that he points that out as it reflects a reason as to why Billot would not fight for the accused as he is depicted as an anti-Judaism individual. This however should not be insisted upon as the whole case is a pure injustice case regardless of personal affiliations.