Accessibility links

US Congress Continues Hearings into Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners - 2004-05-05


U.S. Congressional hearings into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops continued for a second day Wednesday. The Senate Intelligence Committee examined the matter in closed session.

Emerging from the hearing, Intelligence Committee chairman Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, called the mistreatment of the Iraqi prisoners ?deplorable.? ?From what I have heard it appears to be a failure of judgment, a failure of discipline, and a failure of leadership,? he added.

The Vice chairman of the panel, Senator Jay Rockefellar of West Virginia, called for a probe into the activities at all U.S. facilities worldwide where enemy combatants are being detained.

Elsewhere in the Senate, Democrats called for those responsible to be held accountable.

Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ?This idea that there is a chain of command, but nobody assumes any responsibility up that chain of command is unacceptable,? he said.

The top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, said if blame goes all the way to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office, then he should resign.

Mr. Rumsfeld is to address the Iraqi prisoner abuse matter at a public hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday morning. The panel's chairman, Senator John Warner of Virginia, said the Defense Secretary would be accompanied by other top military officials.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration is asking Congress for an additional $25 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, reversing its stance that it would not to seek such money until after the November elections.

The funding request comes amid heightened violence in Iraq, which has prompted the Defense Department to plan on keeping more troops in the country than originally envisioned.

In a written statement, President Bush said, in his words, ?while we do not know the precise costs for operations next year, recent developments on the ground and increased demands on our troops indicate the need to plan for contingencies.? He added that it was important to make sure there is no disruption in funding and resources for U.S. troops.

The money would be for the budget year that begins October 1.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles, an Oklahoma Republican, said that he was not surprised by the request. ?We were planning for it, we were budgeting for it and we were assuming that money would be available for 2005,? he added.

The money would be in additional to the $87 billion measure Congress approved last November, and a $79 billion package lawmakers passed in April of last year.

XS
SM
MD
LG