Charles Graner is out of jail.


Does that name ring a bell? It was one of those names that I saw and knew I’d heard, but couldn’t immediately place where I knew it from. If it weren’t for the headline, I’d probably have never figured it out without googling it.

Charles Graner was a US Army reservist who was convicted of abusing prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. He’s the one pictured giving the thumbs-up sign over the dead body of Manadel al-Jamadi, an Iraqi prisoner, back in 2003-04. He was called the ringleader of the abusers and was sentenced to ten years in prison. In all, eleven soldiers would be convicted, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged.

No one on the civilian side of the issue was ever charged with a crime.

Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →