Vice Chairman Promises Thorough Look Into Prisoner Abuse
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 6, 2004 The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff condemned abuse of Iraqi prisoners and said the military will get to the bottom of what happened at Abu Ghraib prison and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Military investigators are "looking into every detail of every facet of this that we can find" and will "track down all possible leads" during their probe, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace said on the CBS Early Show May 5.
"We are going to go about finding out how this happened, why it happened, take action against those who are responsible, and correct our training systems and our procedures as best we can to prevent this in the future," he said.
Pace dismissed reported claims by those accused in the incidents that they were merely following orders. "These soldiers were not following orders," he said. "That is not what we expect of ourselves. It is not what the American people expect of us. We are expected to perform our duties honorably. And the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of young men and women active, Reserve and Guard -- who have served in Iraq have done so honorably."
The vice chairman said the fact that President Bush felt it necessary to go on Arab language television to condemn abuse at the prison "brings discredit and dishonor on all of us who serve in the military and brings discredit on our country."
"And we don't like doing that to ourselves, to our country, (and) certainly not to our president," he said.
Pace said the prisoner abuse, shown graphically on television screens and newspapers worldwide, "is not who we are" and "not what we represent."
"There are thousands and thousands of wonderful Americans right now serving our country overseas," he said. "They're the ones who deserve the credit. And things like this are not what we're about, and are not acceptable."