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Rumsfeld Meeting In Iraq With U.S. Commanders

13 May 2004 -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit and began talks with U.S. military commanders.

Rumsfeld's trip comes amid a U.S.-government inquiry into abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. guards in Iraq. He was accompanied by the head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers.

Rumsfeld was today quoted as saying he wants to "hear from those responsible for the day to day work of detainee operations" in Iraq.

Members of the U.S. Congress expressed revulsion yesterday after seeing a new set of photos of Iraqis being abused by U.S. troops.

Rumsfeld told journalists traveling with him from Washington that U.S. administration lawyers are advising the Pentagon against publicly releasing more photos of Iraqi prisoners being abused.

Rumsfeld said lawyers argued that releasing such materials would violate a Geneva Convention stricture against presenting images of prisoners that could be construed as degrading.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces today continued fighting militants loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr around Iraq's Shi'ite holy cities of Karbala and Al-Najaf, killing at least two Iraqis.

In Baghdad, one U.S. soldier was killed in a bomb blast.

Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush said today he had been "disgraced" by scenes of U.S. troops brutalizing Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghurayb prison in Baghdad.

Bush, speaking in the state of West Virginia, said that the incidents did not reflect on the "fantastic character" of some 200,000 men and women who have served in Iraq.

(News agencies)