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Context of 'May 4, 2004: Rumsfeld Questions Reporter’s Use of Word Torture To Describe What Happened at Abu Ghraib'

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US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld describes the prisoners being held in Guantanamo as “hard-core, well-trained terrorists.” (MSNBC 1/20/2002; Wintour, Dyer, and Branigan 2/21/2004)

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that President Bush has not decided to go to war. (White House 9/16/2002; Associated Press 9/16/2002)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says, “I’ve not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that” Iraq had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. (Associated Press 9/16/2003)

To a question regarding allegations of abuse at Guantanamo, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld answers: “That is a pattern and a practice of terrorists, to allege abuse.” When a reporter uses the word “torture” in relation to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, he responds: “I’m not a lawyer. My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture.” He adds: “I don’t know if… it is correct to say…, that torture has taken place, or that there’s been a conviction for torture. And therefore I’m not going to address the torture word.” (US Department of Defense 5/4/2004)

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appears before the Senate to express his dismay over the abuse. The incidents of abuse, Rumsfeld says, “sullied the reputation of our country. I was stunned. It was a body blow.” (MSNBC 5/13/2004)


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