Abu Ghraib Closing? Don’t Cheer Just Yet
Posted on Mar 10, 2006
Some sources are reporting that the U.S. has decided to close the notorious prison and transfer its prisoners elsewhere, but don’t celebrate just yet: The seeds for future abuse are already well sown.
Reuters (via Washington Post):
The U.S. military will close Abu Ghraib prison, probably within three months, and transfer some 4,500 prisoners to other jails in Iraq, a military spokesman said on Thursday.
The prison in western Baghdad was a torture center under Saddam Hussein before photographs of American soldiers abusing Iraqis there in 2003 gave it a new notoriety and made it a touchstone for Arab and Muslim rage over the U.S. occupation.
As one gate to hell closes, too many more remain open. The abuse at that prison did not begin at Abu Ghraib; as was detailed by Emily Bazelon in Mother Jones last year (diaried here by SusanHu), the culture of abuse and maltreatment began in the prisons of Afghanistan. Instead of disciplining the soldiers who committed atrocities in that war, the military sent them to Iraq. The abuse at Abu Ghraib then is not some self-contained phenomenon of “bad apples” that can be eradicated by closing up shop and moving elsewhere. Rather, the seeds of abuse have been planted in prisons and detention centers throughout the world.