Seeking for Righteousness

The Personal Blog of Kaimi Wenger

Children’s Prisons

Lileks has written a piece attacking Saddam Hussein for “decid[ing] there would be children’s jails” and Instapundit has picked it up.

One shudders to think of likely conditions at an Iraqi children’s jail. However, Lileks and Reynolds seem wrong to suggest that Saddam’s unique, awful crime was “deciding there would be children’s jails.” There are children’s jails all over the world, including a great many in the United States. We call them “juvenile detention centers” and such, but the nomenclature does not change the fact that they are indeed children’s jails. (Running a google search on “children’s prison” is illuminating. It pulls up, for example, Telegraph articles on “unsafe and horrendous” children’s prisons — in Britain).

I do not mean to suggest that conditions in the two are similar. Iraqi jails are, by all reports, singularly awful places to be. And that awfulness, across the board is, I believe, the real issue. That general awfulness, applied to imprisoned children, magnifies its evil (and the reported near-randomness of the victims is also part of the general awfulness of prison in Iraq) but the decision to imprison children is not, by itself, a product of a “fascist regime” that Lileks envisions. And if Lileks, Reynolds, and others disagree, and think that the decision to imprison children is itself the crime, then they would do well to turn their gaze homewards.

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April 9, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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