Complaining Soldiers May Face Punishment

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The Army is considering whether to punish soldiers in Iraq who griped about conditions there to a television reporter, a Pentagon (search) spokeswoman said Friday.

Some soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division (search) complained on television this week after their units were told they would be leaving Iraq soon, then had their homecoming postponed. One called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld (search).

Criticism of superior officers is a breach of military rules. The Army will determine whether any soldier will be charged with breaking those rules, said Pentagon spokeswoman Chief Petty Officer Diane Perry.

On Wednesday, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said the soldiers' comments show the frustration of troops who are ready to go home.

"Every now and then we've got to look at our young people and understand why they said what they said, and then do something about it," said Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command.

He said it was up to the soldiers' direct commanders to decide if they should be punished.

"None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything disparaging about the secretary of defense, or the president of the United States," he added.