Bush: Not An End To Iraq Mission

WARNING: some of the photos contained here depict violent or graphic scenes.A U.S. military investigation has led to findings of blatant and sadistic abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war by U.S. military police and perhaps others. It has drawn wide condemnation, particularly after the following photos documenting the mistreatment have surfaced. AP / CBS

The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American military guards is "a stain on our country's honor and reputation" but will not deter America's mission to bring democracy to Iraq, President Bush vowed Saturday.

The Democrats used their weekly radio speech, and the international uproar over the Iraq prison abuse pictures, to criticize the administration's Iraq policy in general, reports CBS News Correspondent Tom Foty.

In Iraq, the new head of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, said everything is being done to prevent a repeat of the prisoner abuse, CBS News Correspondent Cami McCormick reported.

In his latest condemnation of the U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners, the president called it shameful, shocking and disgraceful.

"Such practices do not reflect our values. They are a stain on our country's honor and reputation," Mr. Bush said.

In his weekly radio address, the president again said those involved in the abuse will be answer for their actions, but, reports CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller, he was quick to add that the incidents represent the actions of a few and, in his words, "our people in uniform are the best of America."

Mr. Bush made no mention of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He has rejected the calls for Rumsfeld's resignation, saying Thursday that Rumsfeld would keep his job.

"Our mission in Iraq will continue," President Bush declared.

"We have no intention of leaving the nation at the mercy of thugs and murderers. We're determined to help build a free and stable Iraq, a nation at peace with its neighbors and with the world."

The Democrats chose former NATO commander and recent presidential hopeful Wesley Clark to deliver their weekly response.

"This is a mission in trouble," the retired general said. "The truth is President Bush has made mistake after mistake as commander in chief."

Clark praised the president for saying he's sorry about the prison, "but apologies are not enough."

In Iraq, Miller promised no more problems.

"I will tell you that everything that goes on in Abu Ghraib today is in accordance with our procedures and policies, and is in compliance with the covenants of the Geneva convention," he told reporters.

Mr. Bush indicated that punishment arising from the prison incident will go beyond the seven members of the Army Reserve's 372nd Military Police Company already charged by the military.

"We will learn all the facts and determine the full extent of these abuses," said Mr. Bush. "Those involved will be identified. They will answer for their actions." He said all prison operations in Iraq will be reviewed "to make certain that similar disgraceful incidents are never repeated."

As a symbolic gesture, said Clark, the notorious 280-acre Abu Ghraib prison should be dismantled. It is Iraq's most visible symbol of brutality under Saddam Hussein where his henchmen tortured and killed inmates opposed to the regime.

Asked about closing down Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Miller would only say interrogations will continue there until ordered moved elsewhere.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld offered "my deepest apology" Friday to Iraqi prisoners abused by sadistic military personnel and warned that videos and photos yet to come could further inflame worldwide outrage.

"It's going to get a good deal more terrible, I'm afraid," he said glumly in congressional testimony televised throughout the Arab world as well as in the United States.

Thus far, no videos of abusive treatment have reached the public. But still photographs, first aired last week on CBS News' "60 Minutes II" have spawned a worldwide wave of revulsion that has damaged America's image overseas and sparked a political storm at home.

He said the Iraqis who were mistreated will receive compensation.

One week after shocking photos appeared showing prisoners subjected to sexual humiliation, Rumsfeld said the treatment was "inconsistent with the values of our nation. It was inconsistent with the teachings of the military ... and it was certainly fundamentally un-American."

During a total of six hours of testimony in the Senate and House, Rumsfeld sought to repair the damage done to American prestige aboard, to ease the anger of lawmakers caught off guard by the uproar and to shore up support for his own job among key members of Congress.

He said bluntly, "These events occurred on my watch. As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them. I take full responsibility."

Rumsfeld said he "would resign in a minute" if he thought he could not be effective. But he brushed aside Democratic calls to step down, saying, "I would not resign simply because people try to make a political issue out of it."
  • Jarrett Murphy

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