The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing “war crimes” and called for those responsible to be held to account.
The remarks by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, now retired, came in a report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices.
“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Taguba wrote. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
Taguba, whose 2004 investigation documented abuses at Abu Ghraib, is thought to be the most senior official to have accused the administration of war crimes. “The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture,” he wrote.
A White House spokeswoman had no comment.
The group Physicians for Human Rights, which compiled the report, described it as the most in-depth medical and psychological examination of former detainees to date.
Doctors and health experts examined 11 detainees held for long periods in the prison system that President Bush established after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. All of them eventually were released without charges.
The doctors and experts determined that the men had been subject to cruelties that included isolation, sleep deprivation, electric shocks, beating and, in one case, being forced to drink urine.
Bush has said repeatedly that the U.S. doesn't condone torture.
“All credible allegations of abuse are thoroughly investigated and, if substantiated, those responsible are held accountable,” said Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman.