From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: 'Bush Administration Shortchanging Tortured American POWs'

November 10, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today released the following statement regarding news reports that the Bush Administration is trying to block court-ordered payments in frozen Iraqi assets to 17 American prisoners of war from the 1991 Persian Gulf war, in order to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq:

"On the eve of Veterans Day, when the nation honors the service and sacrifice of our patriotic and courageous men and women in uniform, it is outrageous that the Bush Administration is shortchanging tortured American prisoners of war to help pay for Iraq's reconstruction.

"Denying American POWs their court-ordered payments is an unconscionable way to treat soldiers who endured unspeakable torture. How can the President look veterans in the face tomorrow when his Administration is trying to take away money that was rightfully awarded to these brave heroes? Is this how President Bush honors their sacrifice?

"POWs who fought the government of Saddam Hussein in 1991 should not have to fight their own government for the damages that they are entitled to under the law.

"As U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts noted in his ruling this summer, such awards help deter foreign governments from mistreating American POWs. I simply cannot understand why the Bush Administration would want to undermine that deterrent and put future American POWs at risk.

"President Bush should immediately order his Administration to stop trying to take away money that was rightly given to these American POWs."




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