Iraqi prisoners abuse: Rumsfeld takes responsibility but refuses to resign
US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Friday extended his "deepest apology" to Iraqis brutally abused in U.S. military prisons and said he favors compensating them for their suffering.
"These events occurred on my watch. As Secretary of Defense, I am accountable for them. I take full responsibility," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
At the same time, he rejected Democratic demands for his resignation. Asked whether he could remain effective in his post, he said if he believed he could not, "I'd resign in a minute."
"I would not resign simply because people try to make a political issue out of it."
"There are a lot more photographs and videos that exist," he said. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."
Rumsfeld also announced creation of a panel of retired officials to examine "the pace, the breadth, the thoroughness of the existing investigations and to determine whether additional investigations or studies need to be initiated." He said the group will have 45 days to finish its work.
"I'm seeking a way to provide appropriate compensation to those detainees who suffered such grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the United States armed forces," he said.
"It's the right thing to do," Rumsfeld added.
Questioned by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Rumsfeld said that not only the captors who abused prisoners would be held accountable for their actions, but also commanders further up the military chain of command. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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