Recruiting for al-Qaida


Geraldine Sealey
April 30, 2004 9:50PM (UTC)

The images of Iraqi prisoners allegedly being tortured by U.S. soldiers -- including some naked, hooded and stacked in a human pyramid, one with a slur written in English on his skin -- are the lead story on Arab television stations.

This is what the Arab world is seeing, as CBS reported: "According to the Army, one Iraqi prisoner was told to stand on a box with his head covered, wires attached to his hands. He was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted. ... In some [pictures], the male prisoners are positioned to simulate sex with each other. Another shows a detainee with wires attached to his genitals. Another shows a dog attacking an Iraqi prisoner. There is also a picture of an Iraqi man who appears to be dead and badly beaten. In most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing, or giving the camera a thumbs-up."

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One British military expert said the images were "the best recruiting sergeant that al Qaeda and those people that want to fight against British soldiers, American soldiers and the rest of coalition could ever want." Sadly, disgustingly, true.

More images from Iraq are circulating on the Internet. These photos were apparently taken by a U.S. soldier with his digital camera and uploaded by a friend. Some of them are disturbing and graphic -- but, they are, after all, images of war.

[Update: We have received reports that at least two of these photos being represented as from a soldier's camera were actually part of a Dallas Morning News Pulitzer-Prize winning package of photography. It's unclear if other photos on this Web site have been cribbed from other publications or photographers. We'll write an update if we get one. This is a good opportunity, though, to look at the Morning News' amazing photography.]


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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