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Rumsfeld: U.S. Obliged to Train Iraqis to Prevent Abuse

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2005 – Though Iraq is responsible for dealing with prisoner abuse or mistreatment by Iraqi security forces, the United States has an obligation to ensure Iraqis are properly trained and are aware of the damage such abuses can cause, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here Nov. 29.

Iraqi leaders know they need the support of the international community and they understand the consequences of abuse allegations, Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference.

"A good way to lose (international support) is to make a practice of something that's inconsistent with the values of the international community," he said. "And I think they know that."

If U.S. servicemembers witness or hear about abuse, it is their responsibility to intervene and stop it, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the same news conference.

"It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. servicemember, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it," Pace said.

There already have been cases where U.S. commanders hear of abuse and report it to the Iraqi government, and the government takes responsibility for the problem and stops it, Pace said.

Dozens of countries are involved in training and equipping the Iraqi security forces, Rumsfeld said, all committed to making sure the training includes preventing abuse.

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Donald H. Rumsfeld
Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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