The photos showing U.S. soldiers jeering and abusing naked Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad “are abhorrent and they don’t represent America.” That is the message President George W. Bush conveyed to the people of the Middle East when he appeared on Al Arabiya and Alhurra television:
“The America I know is a compassionate country that believes in freedom. The America I know cares about every individual.... It’s also important for the people of Iraq to know that in a democracy, everything is not perfect, that mistakes are made. But in a democracy, as well, those mistakes will be investigated and people will be brought to justice.”
“The system will be transparent,” says President Bush. “It will be open and people will see results”:
“That stands in stark contrast to life under Saddam Hussein. His trained torturers were never brought to justice under his regime. There were no investigations about mistreatment of people.”
The abuses at Abu Ghraib prison were reported to U.S. military officials by a U.S. soldier. That initial allegation has resulted in several separate investigations. As President Bush puts it, in the U.S. “when an issue is brought to our attention on this magnitude, we act”:
“Justice will be served. And we will do to ourselves what we expect of others. And when we say, ‘You’ve got human rights abuses, take care of the problem,’ we’ll do the same thing. We’re taking care of the problem.”
President Bush says that the actions of a few people do not reflect the majority of the U.S. soldiers who are working daily to improve the lives of Iraqi citizens.