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American Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners
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The recent abuse by both American and British soldiers is, as President Bush has said, disgusting. Heads need to roll, and people need to be put away for a long time. I hope one of the six Americans currently up for court-martial is the person who was supposed to be overseeing the prison in Baghdad where this shit went down.

But in relation to the very real abuse that some prisoners undoubtedly went through, why the hell is this guy getting headlines?

Al-Shweiri, who was arrested by the Americans in October, said he was asked to take off his clothes only once and for about 15 minutes.

When I saw the headline, "Iraqi Prisoner Details Abuse by Americans", I thought there would be first-hand descriptions of the prisoners being paraded around naked, taunted, stacked on top of each other, or threatened with electrocution.

This guy was strip searched for 15 minutes upon entrance to the prison. I would imagine this is probably standard procedure, to insure that there are no concealed weapons. This is not the same as having photos taken of your genitals as a female soldier laughs at your naked body.

He said he and six other prisoners all hooded had to face the wall and bend over a little as they put their hands on the wall.

"They made us stand in a way that I am ashamed to describe. They came to look at us as we stood there. They knew this would humiliate us," he said, adding that he was not sodomized.

Good to know he wasn't sodomized. This sounds like a fairly standard strip search to me. Perhaps I'm completely ignorant on this issue. Are strip searches, in and of themselves, against the Geneva Convention? How is bathing/showering supposed to be handled? Prisoners from some cultures could obviously see supervised cleaning as humiliating, or having to use the restroom in a non-private area.

It seems to me that strip searches, supervised cleaning periods, and public restroom facilities are probably within the guidelines of humane treatment of prisoners. Obviously some of the shit going down at the Abu Ghraib prison was a vile violation of international norms for the treatment of prisoners, but from what I've read in this story, Dhia al-Shweiri's treatment was not part of that abuse.

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