U.S. to Close Abu Ghraib

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. military to close Abu Ghraib prison and transfer prisoners to other jails in Iraq, CNN confirms.

No details yet but this is long overdue. While there were some practical reasons not to shut down a working prison at a time when housing prisoners was necessary, the symbolic value of Abu Ghraib to our enemies has been far, far more detrimental to our cause than whatever security it provided.

Update: Reuters has details:

The U.S. military will close Abu Ghraib prison, probably within three months, and transfer some 4,500 prisoners to other jails in Iraq, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

The prison in western Baghdad was a torture center under Saddam Hussein before photographs of American soldiers abusing Iraqis there in 2003 gave it a new notoriety and made it a touchstone for Arab and Muslim rage over the U.S. occupation.

“We will transfer operations from Abu Ghraib to the new Camp Cropper once construction is completed there,” Lieutenant Colonel Keir-Kevin Curry told Reuters.

“No precise dates have been set, but the plan is to accomplish this within the next two to three months,” said Curry, the spokesman for U.S. detention operations in Iraq.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. whatever says:

    Don’t know how “breaking” this is – the plan is to slowly transfer operations on all aspects of Iraqi governance from U.S. troops to Iraqis over time.

    Also, a friend of mine in the Reserve is doing guard duty there. He went over last spring on a guaranteed one-year rotation. Maybe his rotation timing was a coincidence, or maybe this has been in the works for a while.