Real-life similarities and differences between
The Stanford Prison Experiment and Abu Ghraib.
Dawud R. Gilmore
Worcester State University
June 28, 2012
American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far does the responsibility go? During the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib was one of the worlds worst and most notorious prisons. From torture, to executions, to terrible living conditions. This was the honest view of the horrors of war. The mistreatment at Abu Ghraib took a toll on not only the prisoners, but also on how we view these war crimes today. Between Abu Ghraib and The Stanford Prison Experiment, one can draw several lines of similarity, as well as several contrasting elements. Something can be learned from witnessing such acts of disgust and mistreatment.
When conducting the Stanford Prison Experiment, the subjects entered knowing that it was a fictional institution, simply to be used for study. General Karpinski was in charge of an operation that was far from fiction. Karpinski was sanctioned for overseeing an operation that was reportedly committing numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” according to Hersh (2004). Such dehumanization is unacceptable in any culture, but it is especially so in the Arab world (Hersh, 2004). Similarities
When the experiment was conducted, there were various similarities between what transpired at Abu Ghraib vs. what took place in the makeshift correctional facility at Stanford. At Abu, the photographs told it all. In one, Private England, was seen giving a thumbs up to a young Iraqi, who was naked except for a sandbag over his head, as he masturbated, according to Hersh (2004). This is not unlike the Stanford Experiment where the students (inmates) were made to wear blindfolds instead of bags, to “mask” their identity (Zimbardo, 2012). This was an example of dehumanization. In another photograph, England stands arm in arm with Specialist Graner;...
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