A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to “put America’s interests first” by resigning over his handling of the growing prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq.
That request by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) came following further revelations of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners held by American military personnel.
See: “New Prison Images Emerge”
In its statement, CAIR said:
“As Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld bears ultimate responsibility for the brutal and humiliating actions of American troops and for the poor handling of the scandal by the military establishment. He must also take responsibility for fostering an atmosphere in which the traditional rules of war and norms of international law are treated as excess baggage.
“With responsibility comes accountability. Secretary Rumsfeld and his entire management team must put America’s interests first by resigning their posts. If he and his top advisors do not resign, they should be removed by President Bush. No other action could possibly help mitigate the devastating impact this scandal has had on our nation’s image worldwide.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also said today that Rumsfeld must go. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) issued a statement that said: “For the good of our country, the safety of our troops, and our image around the globe Secretary Rumsfeld should resign. If he does not resign forthwith, the president should fire him.” Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) today said Rumsfeld should resign because of “his role in the utter mismanagement of the war in Iraq.”
Earlier this week, CAIR demanded a congressional investigation to determine the true extent of the prisoner abuses and to learn whether they were in fact part of a widespread pattern of human rights violations in U.S. detention facilities worldwide. Rumsfeld is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee on Friday.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 26 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.