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Detainees and the Army Inspector General's Report

Wednesday, August 4, 2004; Page A18

The July 24 editorial "An Army Whitewash" did not accurately depict the Army inspector general's recent report regarding detainee operations.

The inspector general did exactly what I directed him to do: He conducted a broad analysis of the Army's policies, practices and procedures on internment, enemy prisoners of war and detention. I directed this inspection on Feb. 10, because reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were emerging. I wanted to determine whether such abuse might be taking place elsewhere and, if so, whether it was the result of a systemwide fault or failure.

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The purpose of the inspector general's assessment was not to investigate specific crimes or to determine individual culpability. It was to examine whether the Army had in place the proper procedures, policies and doctrine, which, if followed, would ensure that our soldiers were conducting detainee operations in accordance with appropriate standards. As a result of the report, the Army is developing and executing a comprehensive plan to implement reforms and to provide for oversight of detainee operations. As for the timing of the release of this inspection report, it was made public as soon as I had reviewed and approved it.

Nobody in the Army is walking away from responsibilities or problems. Multiple assessments and investigations, initiated by the Army, the U.S. Central Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, continue. Criminal investigations of abuse, and legal actions as appropriate, will also continue until all cases have been resolved.

The Army is committed to pursuing the truth and informing Congress and the people in a timely manner. For 229 years, the Army has faithfully served this great nation and will continue to do so.


Acting Secretary

U.S. Army


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