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Abu Gharaib

Essay by   •  March 22, 2011  •  1,226 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,256 Views

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In the time of war anything is possible. Soldiers may do things they would never dream of doing, things that are completely out of character, but in war people are fighting to survive; it is a kill or be killed situation. From the beginning of war there has been the notion of ethics, what is right and what is wrong. Even in warfare soldiers have a principle of what is right and wrong, especially how it relates to prisoners of war. But what happens when these ethics are thrown out the window and human rights are violated? Aren't there laws concerning these rights even for the enemy?

The Geneva Convention consists of laws that are intended to protect prisoners of war from inhumane treatments (Roth, 156). The journal of National review states that, "all prisoners are entitled to humane treatment under international law, the Third Geneva Convention guarantees many other rights to POWs. For example, it requires that they be housed in "dormitories," with adequate heating and light, and protected from "dampness. (Casey, 31). The Genenva conventions also states that questioning of prisoners of wars is permitted however these "individuals with that status cannot be coerced, physically or mentally, either by threats, insults, or other "disadvantageous" treatment (Casey 31). So obviously these rules and regulations stated by the Genenva Conventions are put in place for a reason. It is expected that all countries follow and obey the rules of the Genvea Conventions, however, this is not always the case.

These laws can be violated, this was quite apparent in the Abu Gharib prison scandal.

The military. We know them as the defenders of our country, our freedom and our values. They fight and stand for what Americans believe in. At least this is what they are trained to believe. When one joins the military they are stripped of all their own personal thoughts, feelings and beliefs. They are institutionalized or resocialized to believe the way of their new society. But what exactly are these soldiers being taught? Are they being taught the proper etiquette of warfare? According to the several pictures the world saw in May of 2004, our soldiers broke many of the laws put in place to protect those of war (Grundberg, 2005). In 2004 Pictures of harsh and inhumane techniques of Iraqi prisoners surfaced in the United States. Wide spread abuse on Iraqi prisoners by American troops was shown. Investigation of Intelligence Activites at Abu Ghraib states that "The abuses at Abu Ghraib primarily fall into two categories: a) intentional violent or sexual abuse and, b) abusive actions taken based on misinterpretations or confusion regarding law."(Unknown author) The techniques used in the wide array of pictures depicts Humiliation, degradation, pain and suffering all caused by American troops. The pictures of Abu Ghraib are quite disturbing. One picture is of an Iraqi detainee who is hand cuffed to his bed completely nude with a pair of underwear on his head, clearly this is both degrading and humiliating. Another picture is of a detainee who is also naked, but this time he is on a dog leash. These humiliating pictures of Iraqi detainees are not the only ones. Other pictures include several prisoners handcuffed together, naked, and forced to stimulate masturbation while being photographed. Even women prisoners where forced to expose themselves while being photographed. One of the most disturbing incidents of abuse is of an Iraqi prisoner lying on the floor with a banana in his anus. Humiliation in the form of sexual exploitation were not the only ways that American soldiers abused their prisoners. They also used scare tactics and actual pain to devalue and terrorize the prisoners. Some examples include the use of dogs to scare the prisoners, prolonged standing, attachment of electrical wires to genitals, excessive force and abuse and even withholding food, clothing and bedding (Unknown author). Obviously the tactics used by the soldiers on the detainees are not tactics taught to them during resocialization. And all of the above scenarios go against the Geneva Conventions that all soldiers learn about. It is not ignorance that caused this abuse. So why did these soldiers believe that the above techniques were

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