Bush: US owes Rumsfeld 'debt of gratitude'

US President George Bush has strongly backed Donald Rumsfeld and said the nation owed him a debt of gratitude.

    Bush thanked Rumsfeld for his 'leadership'

    After a meeting with Rumsfeld, military leaders and other top administration officials at the Pentagon, Bush told Rumsfeld, "Thank you for your leadership. You are courageously leading our nation in the war against terror." 

    "You're doing a superb job. You're a strong secretary of defence and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude," Bush said.

    'Full accounting'

    The president also promised "a full accounting" of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by their American guards in a scandal that has angered the Arab world. 

    "Because America is committed to the equality and dignity
    of all people, there will be a full accounting for the cruel
    and disgraceful abuse of Iraqi detainees," Bush said.  "The conduct that has come to light is an insult to the Iraqi people and an affront to the most basic standards and decency." 

    "You're doing a superb job. You're a strong secretary of defense"

    George Bush,
    US president

    The president met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and top US military officers after Bush publicly apologised last week for the scandal, triggered by photographs of naked Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. 

    "The Iraqi people need to know that our coalition is fully committed to their independence, that we are fully committed to their national dignity," he said. 

    "We have great respect for the people of Iraq and for all Arab peoples, respect for their culture and for their history and for the contributions they can make to the world."  

    SOURCE: Reuters


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