Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story

Glen Newey writes:

Gourevitch and Morris chronicle the anomie which marked life in the prison. The cultural stereotyping of prisoners was a routine aspect of personnel training, with particular stress on Arabs’ reputed fear of dogs. Prisoners were frequently kept naked – what Private Lynndie England and others called ‘standard operating procedure’ (SOP). Children as young as ten years old were incarcerated: one of the tactics for nailing suspects was to kidnap their children and hold them hostage until their fathers turned themselves in. Abu Ghraib was situated in a war zone, contrary to international law; detainees were routinely burned with cigarettes as an interrogation technique.

(LRB 29 January 2009)