Abu Ghraib - Essay

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Over-obedience to military authority has been a controversial topic for many years. The most recent case was during the era of Saddam Hussein at Abu Ghraib, a U.S. military prison located right outside of Baghdad. There have been studies conducted and experiments performed in the attempt of a better understanding of the despicable actions of our fellow citizens. The Stanford Prison Experiment, conducted by Phillip G. Zimbardo, is one similar to the Abu Ghraib case. While it was merely a mock experiment, the results closely parallel to those in the Abu Ghraib prison. Each individual person in our society has their own personality and when forced into dire circumstances; their reactions can be very different. The results of both of these cases clearly prove this point. In addition, the external influences in our society can intensify these reactions. The prisoners of Abu Ghraib fell into three categories: common criminals; security detainees; and a small number of suspected important leaders of the insurgency against the coalition forces. A fifty-three-page report, not meant for public viewing, was released after a major investigation into the Army’s prison system. There had many numerous instances of sadistic, criminal abuses against the prisoners by a handful of U.S. military guards. The actions of the Abu Ghraib guards were extremely similar to the guards of Zimbardo’s experiment performed many years before. The prisoners of Abu Ghraib were stripped naked, forced to assume humiliating poses, sexually assaulted, physically abused and threaten in illegal manners. Two of the prisoners were even murdered. The military guards felt no need to hide the abuse and even took photos of their disgusting acts of abuse on the prisoners. In Zimbardo’s experiment they constructed a prison in the basement of Stanford University’s psychology building. There were twenty-one participants (ten prisoners and eleven guards), all of which were...
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