Archive for Sunday, May 9, 2004

U.S. commander blames abuse on poor leadership

May 9, 2004


— The head of U.S. detention centers in Iraq said Saturday the military had no plans to close the Abu Ghraib prison and blamed the abuse of detainees there on poor leadership and disregard for the rules.

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller said the United States did intend to cut the number of prisoners to help improve conditions but added that "we will continue to conduct interrogation missions at the Abu Ghraib facility."

Miller was named head of prisons in April after Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the commander of Abu Ghraib, was suspended amid allegations of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at the prison.

Seven prison guards have been criminally charged for alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Photographs of the abuse were published throughout the world.

President Bush vowed Saturday that "we will learn all the facts and determine the full extent of these abuses. Those involved will be identified. They will answer for their actions."

Bush said all prison operations in Iraq would be reviewed "to make certain that similar disgraceful incidents are never repeated."

Miller said he visited all 14 prison facilities in Iraq to review procedures and that an Army team of 31 specialists was in the country retraining prison guards, a process that would last until June 30.

"We will ensure that we follow our procedures," he said. "It is a matter of honor. We were ashamed and embarrassed by the conduct of a very, very small number of our soldiers ... On my honor, I will ensure that it will not happen again."

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