Cases of Obedience in the Abu Ghraib Case

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  • Topic: Sociology, Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, Authority
  • Pages : 4 (1245 words )
  • Download(s) : 430
  • Published : December 13, 2007
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The acts of torture performed on the inmates at Abu Ghraib were both cruel and inhumane. But what if the reason the guards tortured the inmates was due to the result of obedience from their superiors. The cause of the torture of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib could have stemmed from situational factors instead of the will of a few aggressive soldiers. Authority figures that use persuasive methods can be very influential. There are many circumstantial possibilities as to why the guards treated the prisoners cruelly. Most people don't attribute the torture to many situational and external causes. In this case, most people attribute the torture to the internal faults of the guards when it could very well be outside sources at fault.

Fear could have been a powerful persuasive technique used by the authority figures. From the looks of the pictures, the conditions at Abu Ghraib were a scary environment to begin with. Scaring the guards may have been a reason they obeyed and performed the acts they did. …fear appeals can effectively persuade under the following four conditions: (1) the target of the message is convinced that the dangers mentioned are serious; (2) the target is convinced that the dangers are quite probable; (3) the target is convinced that the recommendations to avoid the dangers will be effective; and (4) the target believes that he or she can competently take the recommended action (Franzoi 206).

These fearful conditions could have been met at Abu Ghraib. The "target, better known as the guard were; (1) probably convinced that they would be reprimanded if did not follow orders; (2) the target thought that the authority figure would indeed carry out a punishment for disobedience; (3) the target was convinced that the punishment would have been severe; (4) the target knew he/she could complete the awful requests. If these conditions were met the, guards were persuaded by the authorities.

The involvement of the guards was obvious; they...
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