And that’s the way it was: March 20, 2004

The American military charges six soldiers with abusing inmates at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq

It came to light in early 2004 that US military police personnel had committed human rights violations against detainees held at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. The violations included rape, torture, sodomy, assault, and homicide. On March 20, 2004, six soldiers were brought up on charges of assault, cruelty, and maltreatment of prisoners.

The American media showed little interest when the Department of Defense first announced, in January of that year, that it had begun investigating reports of physical and psychological abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers. It wasn’t until late 2004 that the abuses at Abu Ghraib came to wide public attention, after they were detailed in a 60 Minutes II report (“Abuse Of Iraqi POWs by GIs probed”) and a New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh (“Torture at Abu Ghraib”). Both the CBS broadcast and the Hersh expose included graphic pictures of military personnel subjecting detainees to painful and humiliating acts.

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review. Tags: , , , , ,