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Donald Rumsfeld says 'Kill Team' actions are worse than Abu Ghraib


The disturbing allegations that American soldiers were involved in "acts of unspeakable cruelty" toward Afghan civilians, compounded by an alleged cover-up by Army officers, has already led to charges against a dozen soldiers, a guilty murder plea by one Army infantryman, and a statement by a former Defense secretary calling the actions "worse than Abu Ghraib."

Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock admitted devising scenarios as part of what is called the Kill Team in Afghanistan. Donald Rumsfeld is calling the murders worse than Abu GhraibRolling Stone magazine deemed the "Kill Team's" actions part of a disturbing "front-line culture among U.S. troops in which killing Afghan civilians is less a reason for concern than a cause for celebration."

On Tuesday, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the actions -- which allegedly involved, among other grotesque acts, cutting off the fingers of innocent victims as souvenirs -- heartbreaking and worse than the criminal activity in the Iraqi prison because this time people died.

"You know, I feel such a responsibility as an American that when people are in our custody, we treat them properly," Rumsfeld told The Washington Times. "It is always heartbreaking when we see that there are allegations and photographs or suggestions that people have mismanaged that process. And of course the courts will decide in this case. But it is interesting, in the case of Abu Ghraib, that it was such an important press event and nobody was killed. And in this case, it looks like there are allegations that some people were actually killed."

Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, pleaded guilty to murder and to one count each of conspiracy, obstructing justice and illegal drug use. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

War crimes hearing begins for soldier in Afghan deaths

U.S. Army sergeant described as ringleader in slaying of Afghan civilians

Note: Andrew Malcom is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock  Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (7)

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For Rummy to speak out against this just shows how low the man has sunk.
Always in the field of battle, civilians pay the price.
That is very tragic in itself.
But prisoners of war are off the battlefield. The crimes shown at Abu Ghraib was a pattern of cruelty and irresponsibility that was a but one manifestation of Rummy's inattention to what was going on in Iraq.

Is it a contest?

This saddens me to no end. How does the world's greatest power give itself the right to police the world, when incidents such as this happen. Truly shocking. I hope the men get the punishment they deserve, which in my opinion, is longer than 24years.

The pot calling the kettle black.

He simply stated a fact, and one cannot dispute it. The pictures reflect poor taste vs. murder!


One thing that most people have forgotten. Abu Ghraib was created by bad policy and a rush to gather intel. Poor Rummy, he seems to be getting extremely forgetful. Lets all remember "Ice Man" or better known as "Al Jamadi. He was murdered at Abu Ghraib by Interrogators. So it is time for him to finally man up and take some responsibility for opening Pandora's box. For someone who lives in a glass house he loves to throw blame at everyone else.

I agree it is a tragedy in Afghanistan and at Abu Ghraib. Hopefully they will find it in their hearts to forgive our nation for such crimes. Our leaders and decision makers are not innocent in any of this either. Yet, we will only see young soldiers go to prison and no real justice will be done.

After having served in Iraq I am embarrased of how we have treated the people in both countries. If we claim to be the rightous nation then our actions must show it. But yet Rummy writes a book and profits from not only having failed policies but he was fired as well. Yet we give him a platform. Only in America.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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