Rape at Abu Ghraib


Practically ignored in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal are the Iraqi female prisoners who have told their attorneys they were raped by U.S. soldiers. The Taguba report confirms that some women were indeed raped by American G.I.’s. There is one photo of an American soldier having sex with an Iraqi woman. And there is the by now infamous story of how American soldiers harnessed a 70-year-old woman and rode her around, calling her a donkey.

One hint of the rape aspect of the torture scandal came last December, when a note smuggled out of Abu Ghraib by a female prisoner claimed that American guards were raping the female detainees. There are few women in the prison; the note said some of the women were now pregnant. According to a report last week in The Guardian (U.K.), the note urged the Iraqi resistance to bomb the jail to spare the women further shame. Amal Kadham Swadi, one of seven Iraqi female attorneys who are attempting to represent detained women, visited a detainee at a U.S. military base in Baghdad last November and later told The Guardian, “She was the only woman who would talk about her case. She was crying. She told us she had been raped. Several American soldiers had raped her. She had tried to fight them off, and they had hurt her arm. She showed us the stitches. She told us, ‘We have daughters and husbands. For God’s sake don’t tell anyone about this.’ ”

Although the Taguba report makes specific reference to the abuse of female Iraqi prisoners, the Bush administration has refused to release photos of Iraqi women forced at gunpoint to bare their breasts—no doubt to spare Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld further embarrassment.