Investigation into U.S. Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners

Bush Apologizes to Jordan's King Hussein; Backs Rumsfeld

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A hooded and wired Iraqi prisoner at Abu Ghraib prison.

A hooded and wired Iraqi prisoner at Abu Ghraib prison who reportedly was told he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box is pictured in this undated photo. Reuters/Courtesy 'The New Yorker' hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters/Courtesy 'The New Yorker'
U.S. soldiers stand behind a pyramid of naked Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

U.S. soldiers stand behind a pyramid of naked Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad in this undated photo. Reuters/Courtesy 'The New Yorker' hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters/Courtesy 'The New Yorker'

President George Bush on Thursday publicly said he was sorry for the abuse some Iraqi detainees have suffered at the hands of American troops. He made his comments to the press following a White House meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah.

But Bush also insisted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would stay in his cabinet, defying calls for Rumsfeld's resignation. Rumsfeld is scheduled to testify before a Senate panel Friday about the scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison.

In White House interviews with Arab television journalists Wednesday, President Bush called the abuse "abhorrent" and vowed to punish those responsible. The interviews were part of an overall White House effort to limit the political damage from a scandal it admits has hurt America's image in the Arab world.

NPR has obtained a copy of a classified internal military report, completed two months ago, which details the physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. In mid-January 2004, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the senior American commander in Iraq, ordered an investigation into abuse allegations by the 800th Military Police Brigade at Abu Ghraib prison.

The investigation, carried out by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, cites photo and video evidence and concludes that Iraqi prisoners had been victims of "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses." The report says some Iraqi prisoners were beaten with broom handles and chairs, and threatened with rape. One prisoner was sodomized with a chemical lightstick or, the report says, a broomstick. Military dogs were also used to frighten and intimidate detainees.

The report says a lack of training and poor leadership led to the abuse. So far, the Pentagon says six unnamed military police have been charged and another seven MPs have been reprimanded.

Others have suggested that prisoner abuse is widespread throughout Iraq. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are calling for full disclosure from Pentagon leaders on the military's investigations into prisoner abuse throughout Iraq.

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