Decribe the key issue Abu Ghraib

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, Milgram experiment Pages: 3 (1131 words) Published: March 21, 2014
Outline a key issue for obedience, discuss by using theories/studies from obedience for what happened in Abu Ghraib The Abu Ghraib prison is a notorious prison in Iraq, located in Abu Ghraib, near Baghdad. US soldiers were told to abuse and humiliate the prisoners by their leaders; this included chaining them up, treating them like dogs, and sometimes sexually harassing them. In April 2004 the abuses at Abu Ghraib were exposed with photos and videos showing US soldiers abusing naked Iraqis. On the 22nd October 2004, a US solider – Staff sergeant Ivan Chip Frederick, aged 38 was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for sexually and physically assaulting detainees which included performing a mock electrocution on an individual. Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Kramer, a military intelligence officer referred to an email sent by US command in Baghdad telling him to order his interrogators to be tough on prisoners. The email said that they “wanted the detainees to be broken”. This theory could be used because the soldiers are trained to be agents of authority and believe they have a duty to protect America as agents of society thus as soldiers, they would be agents obeying the orders rather than autonomous individuals making their own decisions. The soldiers would not have been in an autonomous state, and would have therefore been more able to carry out the orders given to them by an authority figure. This may have been because the soldiers were under the impressions that they would not be held responsible for their actions hence they thought it was acceptable to torture the Iraqi detainees as well as degrading them in the process. The agency theory can be used for what happened at Abu Ghraib. The US soldiers were in an agentic state; they were an agent for the authority, in the soldier’s case the authority was the higher up in command officers. When they were given a job to do for example, to sexually harass a prisoner they did it because they saw it as their duty not...
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