Donald Rumsfeld forsvarer hovedtrekkene i fangebehandlingen. Ser man på de totale tallene er antall overgrep forsvinnende få, og sakene er etterforsket til bunns, hevder han. Men den slags relativisering av tallene gjør ikke inntrykk på Amnesty.
Det var under en pressebrief der Rumsfeld advarte nabolandene mot å gi medisinsk hjelp til en såret Abu Musab al-Zargawi, som uhyre uklokt og umoralsk, at Rumsfeld også kom inn på USAs fangebehandling. Han reagerte kraftig på Amnestys uttrykk «gulag» om amerikanske fangesentra rundt om i verden.
Mr. Rumsfeld and General Myers wholeheartedly defended the conduct of American troops in Iraq, and they insisted that detainees there as well as at the Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba were being well treated on the whole, despite occasional abuses.
To compare the detention unit at Guantánamo Bay to the Soviet-era gulag, as the rights group Amnesty International recently did, is «reprehensible» and «cannot be excused,» Mr. Rumsfeld said.
The secretary said all instances of prisoner abuse had been investigated and prosecuted aggressively, and that some major newspapers were guilty of «repeating the same erroneous assertions and recycling the same stories» about abuse of prisoners. He said nearly all the 68,000 detainees who have been in custody since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have nothing to complain about.
Furthermore, he said, the Guantánamo detainees deserve their designation as suspected terrorists. «Many, if not most, have been systematically trained to lie and to claim torture,» Mr. Rumsfeld said.
«Much was made recently of a news story falsely accusing service members of flushing a Koran down the toilet,» Mr. Rumsfeld continued. «But little has been said about the great lengths that the military go to at Guantánamo Bay to accommodate the religious practices of detainees in their care.»
Amnesty International immediately denounced the secretary’s remarks. «Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration ignored or dismissed Amnesty International’s reports on the abuse of detainees for years, and senior officials continue to ignore the very real plight of men detained without charge or trial,» said William F. Schulz, the organization’s executive director.
Kritikere vil si at Rumsfeld ikke svarer på den alvorlige kritikken, men avleder den ved å vise til anonyme tall.