General Richard Myers described as “absolutely irresponsible” a report by Amnesty International that labeled the Guantanamo Bay camp as “the gulag of our times”, a reference to the notorious Soviet prison camps.
General Myers said the prison camp, where hundreds of foreign terrorism suspects are held indefinitely, is essentially a model facility.
He said the US is doing its best to detain fighters who, if released, “would turn right around and try to slit our throats, slit our children’s throats.”
“This is a different kind of struggle, a different kind of war,” Gen. Myers said, speaking to the Fox News network.
“We struggle with how to handle them, but we’ve always handled them humanely and with the dignity that they should be accorded.”
The outgoing chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said guards
have tried to treat the detainees as humanely as possible, claiming over 1,000 Korans in 13 different languages have been handed out, and the prison canteen caters to Muslim dietary needs.
Human rights groups have condemned US policy in Guantanamo, where some detainees have been held for years without charge while released inmates have claimed they were abused and tortured by their interrogators.
The US general said representatives of the International Committee of the
Red Cross have had access to Guantanamo “from the day we opened the gates.”
Speaking on the ongoing insurgency in Iraq, he said that while he believes Iraq’s most wanted man al-Zarqawi has been wounded, he is not aware of the extent of his injuries.
“What we’ve seen is postings on their website that says he’s been injured,” he said.
“Because we follow these websites, we tend to believe that that is probably true. We don’t know more than that right now.”
He spoke after The Sunday Times newspaper reported the militant has shrapnel lodged in his chest and may have been moved to Iran.