Lawmakers want to know how high in the military chain of command the mistreatment
of Iraqi prisoners was known, and whether the abuse was ordered by military
Photographs of prisoners subjected to sexual humiliation and other brutality
at the hands of U.S. soldiers have prompted international outrage.
The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joe Biden,
says President Bush should seek Iraqis' permission to tear down the Abu Ghraib
prison where the abuse occurred, and replace it with something the Iraqis want,
like a school or a hospital.
"The president, I think, has to make a gesture as dramatic and consequential
the symbolic damage done when in fact the prison scandal broke," says Mr. Biden.
Mr. Biden made his comments Tuesday before the Foreign Relations Committee.
Meanwhile, some controversy has arisen over the handling of Wednesday's Armed
Services Committee hearing.
In an unusual development, the Republican chairman of the panel, Senator
John Warner, is coming under criticism from the chairman of the House Armed
Services Committee, Congressman Duncan Hunter, who is also a Republican.
Congressman Hunter said, in his words, it is a "mistake" to pull out operational
leaders in Iraq and deprive U.S. troops of their leadership so that, as he
put it, "the Senate can have a lot of publicity."
Senator Warner did not directly respond to Mr. Hunter's comments. But he
noted he asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld if the witnesses could appear
by video teleconference. He said the Pentagon made them available in person.