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Monday, June 27, 2005

By "demolish," we mean "expand"

A new Iraq will also need a humane, well supervised prison system. Under Saddam Hussein, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values. America will fund the construction of a modern, maximum security prison. When that prison is completed, detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated. Then, with the approval of the Iraqi government, we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison, as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning.
-- White House fact sheet, May 24, 2004.
Faced with a ballooning prison population, U.S. commanders in Iraq are building new detention facilities at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and Camp Bucca near the Kuwaiti border and are developing a third major prison, in northern Iraq.
-- LA Times, yesterday. More from the Times story:
The number of prisoners held by the U.S. in Iraq reached record levels this month before falling slightly. As of Saturday, the average prisoner total in June stood at 10,783, up from 7,837 in January and 5,435 in June 2004.

The two main U.S. Army-run prisons, Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, are operating near their maximum or "surge" emergency limits. On Saturday, the two prisons together held 10,178 inmates, with 1,630 detainees awaiting processing in different Army divisional and brigade headquarters.
Of course, Iraq still has a ways to go to match the "liberty" we enjoy in this country, with over two million Americans behind bars.