Torture Photos Should Be Secret—for Detainees' Sake

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2009 11:12 AM CDT
An unidentified detainee stands on a box with a bag on his head and wires attached to him in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Human rights groups may be upset that President Obama is classifying photos of detainee abuse, but former Army staff sergeant William Quinn thinks it’s a good thing—for the detainees’ sake. When Quinn was assigned as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib, he discovered that the detainees took a very different view of that prison’s photo scandal than Americans, he writes in the New York Times.

The abuse itself didn’t particularly anger the detainees, who were accustomed to the brutal treatment of prisoners under Saddam Hussein. But the release of the photos appalled them. Many believed it was a deliberate plot to humiliate them. Quinn was shocked at first, but eventually realized that Americans, too, value dignity and privacy. “If one of the detainees had been my brother, some of my anger might well have been directed at those who published the photographs.”