Good News in Iraq Being Ignored, Rumsfeld Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2004 Revelations of alleged abuses committed against detainees by U.S. soldiers at Abu Gharaib prison in Iraq are indeed "terrible," the Pentagon's top civilian acknowledged today in testimony before a Senate subcommittee.
However, such alleged acts, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld pointed out to members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, "certainly don't represent Americans or the American military."
And the "enormous progress" being made in Iraq, Rumsfeld asserted, is "getting ignored" by the media.
Schools and hospitals have been renovated and reopened since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, the secretary noted. Oil "is pumping," he observed, and Iraq has a new currency.
New Iraqi government ministries have been established ahead of the June 30 turnover of sovereignty, he noted, while provincial and municipal governments have been set up across the country.
In fact, 80 to 90 percent of Iraqis are "being governed by local councils," Rumsfeld reported. Yet, he lamented, "all we hear about are the problems."
Rumsfeld vowed to get to the bottom of allegations of detainee abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, he cautioned Senators that more revelations of abuse "will come out in the days and weeks ahead, because we've got six investigations looking into all of this."
He said more information would become freely available to the public as the military investigations run their course.
Such a transparent process is a good thing, the secretary said, and "tells a whale of a lot about our country."
The secretary said he believes U.S.-coalition efforts in Iraq will ultimately be successful.
"And we're going to keep at it," he declared.