Abuse of Women Detainees
Iraqi women were also abused at Abu Ghuraib, according to the Taguba report and reports of photographs seen by the US Congress. As this Islamist PakNews story notes, most of the reporting on torture and abuse of detainees at Abu Ghuraib has focused on men. It is clear, however, that Iraqi women were also made to strip naked, were photographed in that compromising position, and it is alleged that some were raped by US military personnel. Although, of course, the soldiers who behaved this way and the officers who authorized or allowed it were not “crusaders,” as the article alleges, the abuse of women was designed to take advantage of Muslim and Arab ideas concerning female honor.
A scandal that has not yet broken in the press is the story of how many women ended up in US prisons. The fact is, few were suspected of having themselves committed a crime or an act of insurgency. Rather, they were taken as hostages or potential informants because their husbands or sons were wanted by the US military. This kind of arrest, however, is a form of collective punishment and not permitted under the Fouth Geneva Convention governing military occupations of civilian populations. The sexual abuse of these women is therefore a double crime.
Eventually these photographs of abused or tortured Muslim women are likely to leak, and the reaction in the Muslim world will be explosive. One shakes one´s head in bewilderment as to what the Bush administration thought they were doing. William Polk´s guest editorial today is all the more a propos in light of these revelations.