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06 May 2004

Congressional Report, May 6: Prisoner Abuse Hearings Planned

U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution May 6 that condemns the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody and urges the U.S. Army to conduct a thorough investigation into all allegations of Iraqi prisoner abuse.

The non-binding resolution passed the full House by a vote of 365-50. A non-binding congressional resolution expresses the will of the House of Representatives but carries no legal requirements on the president or the U.S. military.

Efforts by some House Democrats, who voted against the measure, to insert language in the resolution that called for congressional investigations were rejected.

The measure urges that the Department of Defense "address chain of command deficiencies and the systematic deficiencies identified in the incidents in question."

The resolution also says "the alleged crimes of a handful of individuals should not detract from the commendable sacrifice of over 300,000 members of the United States Armed Forces who have served, or who are serving, in Operation Iraqi Freedom."

And it expressed the "support of the House of Representatives and the American people for the partnership of the United States with the Iraqi people in building a viable Iraqi government and a secure nation."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with officials from all three military services, are scheduled to testify before the Senate and House Armed Services committees in two separate hearings on May 7 -- the Senate committee in the morning and the House committee in the afternoon.