PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) – Wesley Clark said Friday he thinks that the U.S. military can be trusted to investigate reports of prisoner abuse at coalition detention centers in Iraq.

“We’ve got tremendous integrity in our military and our soldiers know, our officers know, our leaders know, our sergeants know that we have to follow the laws of land warfare and we don’t abuse people that we detain,” Clark, a retired Army general, said during an appearance at a YMCA in Portsmouth. “If that has occurred, and I don’t know whether it has or not, I have every confidence that our military leadership can conduct those investigations and determine the truth.”

The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq has ordered an investigation into reports of abuse of prisoners at coalition detention centers in Baghdad, the U.S. military said Friday.

A military statement gave no indication about the scope of the reported abuse, saying simply that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez ordered a probe “into reported incidents of detainee abuse at a coalition forces detention facility.”

Earlier this month, three U.S. Army reservists were discharged for abuse of prisoners at the Camp Bucca detention center in southern Iraq.

Other former detainees have spoken of systematic abuse, although U.S. authorities insist that conditions are in line with provisions of the Geneva Conventions.

AP-ES-01-16-04 1619EST


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