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US Iraq commander 'concerned' by ethics survey results condoning abuse

[JURIST] Gen. David Petraeus [official profile], the top commanding officer of US troops in Iraq, told a gathering of reporters Monday that he was "greatly concerned" by a survey [text; JURIST report] released by the Pentagon Friday that revealed many US troops in Iraq felt that Iraqi civilians did not deserve to be treated "with respect and dignity," that torture was acceptable to save the lives of fellow soldiers, and that they would not report a fellow soldier for wounding or killing a civilian. Petraeus said he was drafting a memo to look for ways to anticipate and prevent future abuses. Petraeus said he will deliver a report to President Bush in the next two weeks on the direction of the US effort in Iraq and how to retake Baghdad from extremist camps. AP has more.

The Pentagon survey found that a significant percentage of soldiers approve of abusing and even torturing Iraqi non-combatants. According to the survey, "only 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of Marines agreed that non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect. More than one-third of all soldiers and Marines reported that torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier or Marine" or to obtain important information about insurgents. The survey also found that "10 percent of soldiers and Marines reported mistreating noncombatants or damaging property when it was not necessary" and that "less than half of soldiers or Marines said they would report a team member for unethical behavior."

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