Report Awaited on Alleged Prisoner Abuse
By Gerry J. Gilmore
The U.S. military’s
top officer said Sunday he’d soon review results of an investigative
report conducted on detainee operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
on CBS "Face the Nation," Joint Chiefs Chairman Air
Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said he was "appalled" by
reports of alleged prisoner abuse, and was personally following
from December through February, the theaterwide investigation
was prompted by reports of alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees by
U.S. troops working in Abu Gharib prison in Baghdad. Some photographs
allegedly depicting U.S. soldiers humiliating naked Iraqi detainees
were aired April 28 on CBS’ "60 Minutes II" and in other
media outlets since then.
that any troops found to have abused prisoners would be brought
to justice. Such aberrant behavior, if proven true, he emphasized,
doesn’t reflect the ethics of the U.S. military.
is not acceptable behavior," Myers declared. "All you
have to do is look at the photographs and know that’s not how
we do business. We don’t torture people."
Provisional Authority chief spokesman Dan Senor, appearing on
CNN’s "Late Edition" today, also agreed. He noted that
those found guilty will be punished. The possibility that U.S.
soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners, he said, "offends the sensibilities"
of all Americans, including "the overwhelming majority of
men and women in uniform over in Iraq," as well as Iraqis.
the vast majority of U.S. service members in Iraq perform their
duties "with the highest degree of ethics and morality."
the investigation was also examining reports that some U.S. military
guards working in the prison claim military intelligence authorities
coerced them to humiliate detainees.
He also discussed
if having an Iraqi force go into Fallujuh to restore order was
a change of U.S.-coalition strategy. U.S. Marines were not leaving
Fallujah, he pointed out, noting that insurgents operating in
and around the city still "will have to be dealt with."
to news that Iraqi Maj. Gen. Jassim Mohammed Saleh, reportedly
a former member of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard, is the chief
of the Iraqi- manned Fallujah Brigade tasked to bring peace to
the city. Senor pointed out that Saleh — as well as other
former Saddam regime members — would undergo an intensive vetting
process by U.S. and Iraqi officials. If "blood" were
to be found on any Iraqi’s hands after being hired, Senor emphasized,
then they’d be removed.
confirmed earlier reports that Thomas Hamill, the Kellogg, Brown
and Root contractor who had escaped his captors today, was in
good shape. "The hunt continues for those who are still held
hostage" in Iraq, Myers pointed out, adding, "We’ve
got forces focused just on that."
Joint Task Force 7 news release reported a wounded man claiming
to be an American today approached a New York Army National Guard
unit assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team operating in Balad.
Hamill identified himself and took the patrol to the house where
he had been held captive. The unit conducted a hasty cordon and
search of the area and detained two Iraqi citizens with one AK-47
rifle. A medevac helicopter transported Hamill to a nearby military
base and subsequently to Baghdad.