The National Board of the Communist Party USA released the following statement on May 23.

The torture by U.S. military intelligence of Iraqi detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has ignited outrage at home and abroad. Photos of the torture and humiliation of the detainees continue to pour out.

The scandal has widened to other secret U.S. military detention facilities. The Pentagon has classified as “homicides” the death of eight prisoners in U.S. custody. This scandal has exposed as a cruel hoax Bush’s pretense that he ordered the invasion to “liberate” the Iraqi people.

The Bush administration tried desperately to hide the crimes first exposed in a report by the Red Cross last February. U.S. military intelligence officials told the Red Cross that between 70 and 90 percent of the Iraqi detainees were arrested “by mistake.”

Now they want to pin blame on a handful of reservist MPs. While the trial of one low-ranking Army mechanic was underway, U.S. warplanes opened fire on a wedding party, killing 41 Iraqis. It proved that Bush’s bloodbath continues both inside and outside Abu Ghraib. This savagery flows from the occupation itself and is the inevitable result of Bush’s “war on terror,” a cover for the Bush-Cheney plan for world domination. That policy has made the world a more dangerous place, a less secure place.

The death toll will only rise the longer U.S. troops remain in Iraq. They should be brought home now. UN peacekeepers should take their place and genuine Iraqi independence should be restored.

George W. Bush must be held accountable along with Donald Rumsfeld for these flagrant violations of the Geneva Conventions. We join in the growing demands that Rumsfeld be fired immediately. We urge an outpouring of demands that Congress block the Bush-Cheney request for another $25 billion “no strings attached” to pay for the occupation.

It will not be easy for Bush and Rumsfeld to escape their culpability. The Pentagon must not be permitted to “investigate themselves.” Congress must appoint a special Watergate-style committee to investigate these war crimes. Rumsfeld ordered the use of torture to “soften up” detainees so that “actionable intelligence” could be squeezed from them. He ordered the commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention center to go to Iraq and teach them the torture methods he used on the 600 “enemy combatants” at the U.S facility in Cuba.

The administration is trying to “change the subject,” get back to their nefarious schemes to establish a puppet regime in Iraq and tighten their grip on Iraqi oil and the entire Middle East. But Rumsfeld himself admitted in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that he bore responsibility. He admitted that he knew about the crimes months ago and did nothing to halt them. He did not even inform leaders of Congress. Justice demands that he be removed.

The administration took steps soon after 9/11 to immunize themselves from war crimes charges as they pursued their unilateral, pre-emptive “war on terror.” They drew up special legal memos concluding that “neither the Geneva Convention nor any of the laws of war applied to the conflict in Afghanistan” and to similar conflicts.

Bush then signed a secret order granting new powers to the CIA to set up secret detention facilities, some operated by private contractors, outside the U.S., and to question those held in them with unprecedented harshness. Subsequent acts of torture and killing evaded any domestic or foreign judicial oversight.

This was the legal framework for the mass detention and torture, an offensive infected with racism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

The American people did not approve Bush’s policies of exempting himself and his agents from the rule of U.S. or international law. A clear majority of the people now believe Bush’s pre-emptive war on a nation that did not attack us was a mistake. Bush’s approval ratings have plunged to record lows. Deep splits have opened up in Republican ranks. Bush’s justifications, nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, nonexistent Iraqi ties to al Qaeda, are exposed as lies.

Now comes these atrocious war crimes! This is an outlaw administration, a profound danger to world peace and human rights. They must be removed from office next Nov. 2.