WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding recent revelations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners:
“The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers is outrageous, unacceptable and indefensible. This is not who we are as Americans. These acts have shamed us and threaten our important mission.
“One of our stated purposes in Iraq is to foster freedom and individual opportunity in a country enslaved by a vicious dictator. The acts of those who have criminally treated others have undermined that effort and the credibility of that mission. It has, as well, overshadowed the outstanding courage and conduct of the thousands of men and woman who are serving our country in Iraq with honor, distinction and dedication. Only by establishing responsibility and accountability will we remove that shadow.
“It is completely unacceptable that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon knew of these shameful acts and did not move immediately to end it and hold those responsible accountable. I am also very disturbed, though not surprised, that this White House and the Pentagon did not fully inform Congress of the numerous reports of abuse and on-going investigations. It is, however, consistent with their withholding of information from the Congress and the American people that they believe is negative to their objectives.
“If the Bush Administration and the Pentagon do not take control, take action and hold accountable those responsible from the top to the bottom of the chain of command, the ramifications of this abuse will be compounded ten-fold beyond the already enormous damage done to our credibility in Iraq and around the world.”