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

March 30, 2011 |  5:35 pm


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