BAGHDAD, Iraq – The head of Iraq's Governing Council said Wednesday that President Bush's idea of demolishing the notorious Abu Ghraib prison (search) was a waste of resources.
"We must not be sentimental," Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer (search) told reporters. "Torture has taken place in every vault in Iraq. As the Governing Council, we do not agree with demolishing it and the matter will be left for the transitional government" which takes office Jan. 30.
He called the idea of destroying the prison "a waste of resources."
Bush told an audience Monday night at the Army War College (search) in Carlisle, Pa., that Abu Ghraib prison, notorious for torture under Saddam Hussein and scene of prisoner abuse by U.S. troops, will be destroyed "as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning."
However, the idea has found little resonance in Iraq.
On Tuesday, Ahmed Hassan al-Uqaili, deputy chief of the Human Rights Organization in Iraq (search), dismissed Bush's promise as a Republican ploy "to win the [presidential] election in the United States."
Al-Uqaili said the most important thing was to end the abuses committed by both Saddam's regime and the American guards.
Interior Minister Samir Shaker Mahmoud al-Sumeidi (search) said he understood Bush's desire to "remove the memory and the stain" of the prisoner abuse scandal. But he said it would be better not tear it down but change the way it is managed.