Published May 11, 2004
WASHINGTON – The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a resolution that condemns the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in a Baghdad-area jail, calling for a complete investigation into the scandal and taking steps to ensure such mistreatment never happens again.
The resolution, approved 92-0, "condemns in the strongest possible terms the despicable acts at Abu Ghraib prison and joins with the President in expressing apology for the humiliation suffered by the prisoners in Iraq and their families.”
It also "urges the Government of the United States to take appropriate measures to ensure that such acts do not occur in the future.” It recommends a full investigation into the abuse and punishment for all those responsible.
The resolution is in response to the inmate abuse uncovered at Abu Ghraib (search) prison outside of Baghdad that involved the humiliation, torture and physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American military guards in November and December 2003.
"Democracy is not perfect and indeed we made mistakes," said Senate Majority Leader William Frist, R-Tenn. "But openness is a hallmark of that democracy, and as a democracy we will investigate and we will correct those mistakes."
Another member of the Army blew the whistle and reported the prisoner abuse in January.
"On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?'" said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."
The abuse, some of which has been depicted in photographs that have been released to the press and to Congress, happened at the same jail where ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein brutalized prisoners during his regime.
The scandal has prompted calls — mostly from Democrat lawmakers — for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (search ), since the mistreatment happened during his tenure.
On Monday, President Bush defended and praised Rumsfeld for his service, saying he will remain in his post as defense secretary.
Also Monday, Congress was awaiting the release of additional photographs and video on CD-Rom, which Rumsfeld said last week would likely intensify outrage over the scandal.
At issue is which lawmakers should see the images. President Bush was said to have viewed many of the still shots and video on Monday.
Fox News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans and Major Garrett contributed to this report.