Alastair’s Place

Software development, Cocoa, Objective-C, life. Stuff like that.

Abuse of Prisoners in Iraq

Like all citizens of the United States and United Kingdom, I have been appalled by the tales of our troops abusing Iraqi prisoners, and I trust that our leaders, both political and military, will take any necessary action to prevent recurrence of these problems.

However, what makes me even more angry is the fact that the media seem intent on publishing photographs of this abuse, regardless of the cost that doing so may have in the lives of British and American troops, not to mention the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians that are likely to get caught-up in the middle of any unrest that this causes. Publishing such photographs is unnecessary, grotesque, and sometimes verging on indecent, as well as being unhelpful to the fight for a free and democratic Iraq. It is also, I imagine, doubly humiliating for those Iraqis depicted, which makes it hard for anyone involved in such publication to legitimately claim the moral high ground.

Media companies that do find such material in their hands should hand it over to the appropriate authorities, rather than engaging in what could easily be described as profiteering from the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. I have no problem with the press reporting the issue—as long as such reporting isn't intentionally inflamatory—but to my mind the publication of photographs is a step too far.


The photographs apparently showing British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners were faked. This doesn't come as a great surprise to me, as they arrived shortly after the revelations about U.S. forces in Iraq, and frankly if I wanted to disrupt relations with British troops in Iraq, publishing faked photos of them abusing Iraqis would seem a very good way to go about it.

Also, Piers Morgan, the tabloid editor responsible for the photographs supposedly showing British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, has been sacked. Sadly, he was sacked because the photos were a hoax, whereas I think he should have been sacked merely for publishing them… still, we can't complain too much.