Abu Ghraib scandal hurting war effort: Rumsfeld

The scandal surrounding the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad is hurting the war on terrorism by forcing key military leaders to spend too much time answering questions, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.
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Published on May 25, 2004 08:01 PM IST
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PTI | ByAFP, Washington

The scandal surrounding the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad is hurting the war on terrorism by forcing key military leaders to spend too much time answering questions, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.

"An awful lot of us are spending an awful amount of time on this subject. We've got the transition coming ahead of us here to sovereignty for the Iraqi people on or before June 30. And there's a great deal of work to be done," Rumsfeld said.

"On the other hand, this was a situation that needed to be addressed. The criminal prosecutions are going forward. There are six or seven current investigations that are going forward. And it is perfectly proper in a democracy for us to demonstrate to our Congress under Article One of the Constitution and indeed the world that this is how the United states of America, a democracy that has values and respects human beings and expects Americans to treat human beings as human beings, ought to operate. And it is the world has a chance to see how we do this."

The release of images showing US troops abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners has put the US-led effort to stabilize Iraq in a difficult position and brought much international criticism.

Lawmakers in Congress have demanded answers, and called Pentagon leaders from Rumsfeld on down to account for the abuse.

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