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Words in the News
Wednesday 23 January 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
Rumsfeld defends treatment of Prisoners
Summary: The US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has dismissed criticism from British MPs about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. This report from Tim Franks:
   
The News Listen  
  Donald Rumsfeld was at his most lacerating. The debate at Westminster was, he said, just amazing. It is amazing, he continued, oozing sarcasm, the insight that parliamentarians can gain from five thousand miles away. This was the Defence Secretary's theme, that the allegations made by many from a comfortable distance are just plain false. The detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being treated humanely, in conditions consistent with the Geneva Convention. Mr Rumsfeld insisted that it was right that the detainees were not classed as Prisoners of War - they had not carried their weapons openly, they had hidden their insignia, they had not fought on behalf of a legitimate government. And more to the point, said the Defence Secretary, they were still dangerous.

'Will any single prisoner be treated humanely? You bet. When they are being moved from place to place will they be restrained in a way so that they are less likely to be able to kill an American soldier? You bet. Is it inhumane to do that? No. Would it be stupid to do anything else? Yes.'

One prisoner, said Mr Rumsfeld, had already bitten a soldier guarding him. The purpose of their continued detention was, according to the Defence Secretary, to keep them off the streets, out of the airlines, and out of nuclear power plants. This was Donald Rumsfeld's most robust performace yet on the issue. Concern may have been voiced across Europe. America is unbending.

TIM FRANKS, BBC, WASHINGTON

 
   
The Words Listen
 
  lacerating
cutting or hard-hitting

 
   
  oozing sarcasm
being insulting or mocking

 
   
  plain false
completely incorrect

 
   
  humanely
in a considerate and respectful way

 
   
  consistent with
not contradicting

 
   
  insignia
a badge or sign that shows that a person belongs to a particular organisation

 
   
  more to the point
here, most importantly

 
   
  you bet
emphatic way of saying 'yes'

 
   
  robust
strong

 
   
  unbending
here, not going to change its view

 
   
  Read more about this story  
 

Other Words in the News archives

 

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