Abu Ghraib: Forced Nudity was Pervasive

Naked IraqisAs early as April 2003, there were hints that something was going on in Iraq that didn’t quite mesh with traditional American POW procedures. Iraqis who had been picked up for looting were being stripped naked, their clothes burned and chased naked through Baghdad by American soldiers. But that was only the first sign in Iraq of a pervasive military doctrine of nudity and taboo in an orchestrated effort to humiliate Iraqis. The New York Times has the details in “Forced Nudity of Iraqi Prisoners Is Seen as a Pervasive Pattern, Not Isolated Incidents”:

“It was not uncommon to see people without clothing,” Capt. Donald J. Reese, the warden of the tier where the worst abuses occurred, told investigators in a sworn statement in January. “I only saw males. I was told the `whole nudity thing’ was an interrogation procedure used by military intelligence, and never thought much of it.”


In late October, Red Cross monitors were so alarmed by the number of nude detainees that they halted their visit and demanded an immediate explanation.

“The military intelligence officer in charge of the interrogation explained that this practice was `part of the process,’ ” the Red Cross wrote in a report in February.

This kind of widespread acceptance is not something that everyday soldiers are thinking up in unison across many units. The picture that is beginning to unfold is one of a Pentagon directive that supports the humiliation of civilians and combatants alike with little regard for due process or justice. This is definitely not the American government anyone should be apologizing for.

Forced Nudity of Iraqi Prisoners Is Seen as a Pervasive Pattern, Not Isolated Incidents [New York Times]

Related Entries:
Visual of Abu Ghraib Chain of Command
Smells like a Cover-Up
Torture Roundup: Rumsfeld knew; Bush Sidestepped Geneva; Libelous Backlash
…All Abu Ghraib Stories

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

1 Comment
  1. Im not sure why we are so alarmed by the humiliation of these men. Women work in male prisons from coast to coast in the US and we have forced nudity in the prison system here.

    Why has this become an issue now that it is in another country? We humiliate men, and only men, in this country through nudity and forced strip searches all the time. Its part of whats called equality under a Draconian government. How can we complain about what is happening to the Iraqis when we set such a blatant example of degradation in our own prison system?