It is difficult discussing the Bush invasion of Iraq without each day encountering another example of how it transformed the lives of Iraqis in disastrous ways. Stories are emerging that hundreds of children, some as young as nine, are being held under appalling conditions in Baghdad’s prisons, sleeping in sweltering temperatures in sweltering cells without access to even fans, no daly access to showers and subject to sexual abuse by guars and fellow prisoners. A sixteen year old boy who recently got out of one such prison noted: “the electricity comes from a generator and it’s only switched on during the two hour weekly session when visitors come in, and for two or three hours in the evening. We are convinced the guards sell the generator fuel on the black market.” Families of children must pay bribes in order to talk to them on the phone and the entire teaching staff resigned in November due to poor pay.
Many Sunni boys charge they have been arrested due to their religious belief rather than for any crime. Raad Jamal, seventeen, said his sister was told by an American officer during a raid: “tell your brother to confess he is with al-Qaida so we can send him to Camp Bucca(US prison) or else we’ll hand him to the Iraqis and they will torture him.”
A UN Assistance Mission in Iraq visited Baghad prisons and reported examples of sexual abuse of children. They found 400 inmates in a prison designed for 200. There is sufficient evidence of the presence of a disproportionate number of Sunni youth in these prisons. The fruits of the American invasion have blossomed into brutality and torture of children.