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US General: Soldiers Involved in Iraqi Prisoner Mistreatment Will be Brought to Justice - 2004-05-02


U.S. military officials say all who engaged in or encouraged the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners will be brought to justice.

Speaking on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday, General Myers said the U.S. military has zero-tolerance for abuse of prisoners. "This is unacceptable behavior. And the American people get it [understand]. We get it," he said. "You look at the pictures, and you know that this is not something that anybody would condone. If there are more folks involved in this kind of behavior, they will be dealt with appropriately, you can bet on that."

The photographs and allegations of abuse at the Iraqi prison administered by U.S. forces have sparked outrage in many quarters, especially in the Muslim world.

The commander of the accused army reservists has said that they were encouraged to employ aggressive psychological tactics by military intelligence officials.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden of Delaware, said the United States must show everyone that it is taking the matter seriously. "We should demonstrate to the Arab world that this [issue] is urgent," he said. "This is the single most significant undermining act that has occurred in a decade in that region of the world in terms of our [the United States'] standing, in my view."

Senator Biden suggested the names of the accused servicemen should be published, and that investigative and legal procedures be expedited.

General Myers dismissed any suggestion that American soldiers have proven themselves no better than the henchmen of the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.

"There is a distinction," he said. "And as bad as this [situation] is, it was [fellow U.S.] soldiers who turned in these folks and we are taking actions against them. We are doing criminal investigations of these folks, and one has already been referred to court martial."

The general added that no such investigation would have occurred under Iraq's former regime.

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