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Abu Ghraib horrifies me, says Armitage
May 24, 2004 11:40 IST
United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has said that the abuses committed against Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail 'horrified' him.
He said the Bush Administration would 'go as far up the chain of command as necessary' to punish the guilty.
"It seems to me that we had a command climate there that was conducive to this kind of bad behaviour. And nobody was taking normal corrective actions, no one was exercising command and I find that a terrifying spectre and I couldn't be angrier about it," said Armitage in an interview to Australia's Channel 9.
Insisting this was not indicative of the US armed forces, Armitage said, "I don't know what went wrong at Abu Ghraib, but I can guarantee you that we are going to get to the bottom of it. And once we have gotten to the bottom of it, we will punish those who are guilty and go as far up the chain of command as necessary to do so."
When questioned, if they would go all the way up to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, if necessary, he said, "He's as intent at getting to the bottom of it as anyone else."
Asked for an assurance that two Australians held at Guantanamo Bay for two years have not suffered any abuse as alleged, Armitage said, "As I understand it, the defence attorneys of these two people are involved in discussions with military officials here.
"And if there is any information they have, they ought to turn it over so that we can investigate this and get to the bottom of it. I don't think there is any abuse at Guantanamo, but, as I say, I am not running the prison."
Speaking on Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, he said, "We have to take remedial action in our services to make sure it does not repeat itself."