General Defends Treatment Of Guantanamo Prisoners

Associated Press
Monday, May 30, 2005

The Pentagon's top general yesterday defended the treatment of detainees at the U.S. Navy prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said the United States thinks al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi is wounded, though it is not known how badly.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States has done a good job of treating detainees humanely. Muslims in several countries have protested in recent weeks about allegations that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay as part of the interrogation of a prisoner.

The human rights group Amnesty International released a report last week calling the prison camp "the gulag of our time."

Myers called that report "absolutely irresponsible." He said the United States is doing its best to detain fighters who, if released, "would turn right around and try to slit our throats, slit our children's throats."

"This is a different kind of struggle, a different kind of war," Myers said on "Fox News Sunday."

"We struggle with how to handle them, but we've always handled them humanely and with the dignity that they should be accorded."

Myers said a copy of the Koran was not flushed down a toilet. He repeated the Pentagon's contention that five cases of mistreatment of the Muslim holy book at Guantanamo Bay were confirmed.

The four-star general said the U.S. military has detained more than 68,000 people since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and investigated 325 complaints of mistreatment. Investigations have found 100 cases of prisoner mistreatment, and 100 people have been punished, Myers said.

On Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Myers said U.S. officials think postings on a militant Web site confirm that Zarqawi has been wounded.

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