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5/5/04 - INVESTIGATING ABU GHRAIB - 2004-05-06

The U.S. is taking action to find out what happened at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Photographs show U.S. soldiers abusing and degrading Iraqi detainees. In one of the photos, a group of naked Iraqi men were shown being jeered at by U.S. soldiers.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld commented on the abuses:

“The actions of the soldiers in those photographs are totally unacceptable and un-American. Any who engaged in such actions let down their comrades who serve honorably each day, and they let down their country.”

The first investigation was began on January 14th, the day after a U.S. soldier went to officials to report what he had seen at Abu Ghraib prison. That criminal investigation has resulted in six soldiers being charged with conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts.

Another investigation was started to look into the procedures followed at Abu Ghraib. Six commissioned and noncommissioned officers have been reprimanded. The U.S. Army has launched a third investigation into what Army officials describe as “detention operations around the world,” to ensure that humane policies are followed. And a fourth investigation is underway into the possible involvement of military intelligence personnel in the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

No one, as President George W. Bush made clear, is above the law:

“People will be held to account. That is what the process does. That is what we do in America. We fully investigate, we let everybody see the results of the investigation, and then people will be held to account.”

President Bush says he shares “a deep disgust that those [Iraqi] prisoners were treated the way they were treated. Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people.”