US troops in Iraq appalled by prison-abuse scandal | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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US troops in Iraq appalled by prison-abuse scandal

PTI | ByAssociated Press, Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar
May 11, 2004 03:53 PM IST

When US troops in Iraq sit down for a meal or hang out after a shift, conversations these days drift to the prison-abuse scandal that has shocked the world, soldiers on R-and-R breaks in Qatar said. Their most common feeling: outrage.

When US troops in Iraq sit down for a meal or hang out after a shift, conversations these days drift to the prison-abuse scandal that has shocked the world, soldiers on R-and-R breaks in Qatar said. Their most common feeling: outrage.

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But the soldiers insisted that despite doubts among some of them about the legitimacy of the war, the scandal hasn't affected morale because of the strong bonds troops have with buddies in their units.

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"This was morally wrong. If you're given an illegal order, even by a superior, you shouldn't do it. You go to a higher authority. We're taught that," said Staff Sgt. Nancy Wellons-Stewart, who is based in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. "Those people should be punished."

She blamed superiors for not putting a stop to the abuses.

"I don't believe that just one person could have done this on their own. They did this as a group," said Wellons-Stewart.

Like other soldiers interviewed by The Associated Press, Wellons-Stewart is on a four-day, three-night "out" to the Gulf state of Qatar, where US Central Command that oversees the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan is based. Most soldiers said they were spending their time shopping, chowing on fast food and taking military-organized cruises.

Explosive photographs of US military police humiliating Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad have created an international furore.

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