Rumsfeld: Iraqi Prisoner Abuses 'Unacceptable'

In Interview, Defense Secretary Also Eyes Boost in Troop Levels

Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Hear an Extended Interview with Rumsfeld

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld speaks at a Pentagon news conference, May 4, 2004. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

Reported abuses of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers are "unacceptable," and there are six separate investigations under way into the incidents, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says.

A classified internal military report obtained by NPR details physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. A U.S. Army general disclosed Tuesday that the military is conducting criminal investigations into the deaths of 10 prisoners and the alleged abuse of 10 more in prisons across Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rumsfeld tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that while more than one incident of abuse occurred, it does not represent "the pattern. It is not how this country does business. It is not how the men and women in the armed forces conduct themselves. Now, the depiction that one sees in those photographs represent things that are unacceptable...," Rumsfeld says.

Rumsfeld was asked about his plan to keep at least 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq instead of allowing the force's size to decrease as soldiers return from duty. He did not rule out bringing in soldiers from South Korea and other strategic hotspots to maintain the current level. But, Rumsfeld adds, "We're not going to be weakening the deterrent in any parts of the world. You can be sure of that."

U.S.-led forces have killed an estimated 2,500 insurgents in Iraq in the past month or so, but additional insurgents have entered the country, he says.

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