WASHINGTON – The Pentagon's top general on Sunday defended the treatment of prisoners at the U.S. Navy prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and said the U.S. believes Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) is wounded, though it's not known how badly.
Gen. Richard Myers (search), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. has done a good job of humanely treating detainees. Muslims in several countries have protested in recent weeks about allegations that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo as part of an interrogation of a prisoner.
The human rights group Amnesty International (search) released a report last week calling the prison camp "the gulag of our time."
Myers said that report was "absolutely irresponsible." He said the U.S. was 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 (search), the Muslim holy book, had not been flushed down a toilet. He repeated the Pentagon's contention that five cases of mistreatment of the Koran at Guantanamo had been confirmed. He did not give any other details about the mistreatment.
The four-star general said the U.S. military had 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 believe postings on a militant Web site that Zarqawi had been wounded. Myers said he did not know whether Zarqawi had left Iraq for treatment in another country, as some militant sites and news organizations have reported.
Myers said he did not think the United States should have used more troops in the Iraq invasion but acknowledged that progress has proved slower than Pentagon officials had hoped.
"I don't think we understood that people had been suppressed, and their spirit had been suppressed to the point where it wasn't just going to naturally blossom once they had the opportunity," Myers said on a broadcast Sunday morning news show.
Later Sunday, Myers was joining Rolling Thunder (search), an annual motorcycle rally in the capital to support veterans. Thousands of motorcyclists were riding from the Pentagon to the National Mall, gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (search).
Among those attending were Keith and Carolyn Maupin, the parents of Sgt. Keith Maupin, the only U.S. soldier listed as missing and captured in Iraq. The 21-year-old soldier has been missing since his convoy was attacked west of Baghdad on April 9.
"To see these people and see their faces, and hear their caring and sincerity, it's just amazing," Carolyn Maupin said in a telephone interview. "It touches our hearts."