Abu Ghraib After the Scandal: A Firsthand Account of the 344th Combat Support Hospital, 2005-2006
Author: Salvatore Anthony Esposito Jr.
Publisher: McFarland (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 208 pages
Salvatore Anthony Esposito was a member of the 344th Combat Support Hospital which was made up of Army reservists from New York who were present at the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Combat hardened on the streets of their own city, Salvatore and his fellow soldiers were well-trained and emotionally prepared for their assignment in Iraq. At least as well as they could be given the situation that awaited them at the Abu Ghraib compound -- only months after the highly publicized scandal that took place in the prison.
Determined to take on a job filled with more than the usual risks and challenges, the unit faced the hatred of a conquered people who must accept the help and resources of their conquerors. It's often said that war changes the warriors fundamentally. In this book, the author shares his own evolution from dealing with the volatile emotions of the people he was there to help to facing his personal feelings about them and about the job he was there to do.
This is a well-written book. The author's language skills are extraordinary -- however, the difficult topic he chose to write about makes the reader sad all the way to the bone. It's about conflict waged with the ugliest of weapons -- politics, culture, and religion.
Reviewed by: Joyce Faulkner (2014)
In March 2003 the United States military launched an invasion of Iraq. Months afterwards rumors began circulating about human rights violations in military prison facilities throughout occupied Iraq. In January 2004, an Army MP serving in Abu Ghraib Prison left a disc containing photographs of prisoner abuse on the bed of a military investigator. The photographs were infamous the moment they came to public attention, and the face of the Iraq War was re-drawn to be that of sadistic American soldiers. However, soldiers have lived and bled and died protecting the human rights of detainees at Abu Ghraib. The present work details the courage, resolve, and mercy of the soldiers of the 344th Combat Support Hospital, Army reservists from New York who were also present at the Twin Towers scene on September 11, 2001.