The events at Abu Ghraib were undoubtedly humiliating and disgusting to many Americans. The photographs captured our “honorable” men and women of the U.S military doing “dishonorable” acts. It came as a shock to many because our military is supposed to be something we all should respect and honor because of what they are doing overseas. However, the U.S military is not immune or superhuman. It is weak to the same psychological downfalls as all of humanity.
I am able to forgive the U.S military as a whole for the Abu Ghraib incidents. I liken the events that took place there, to the ones that took place in Stanley Milgram’s Stanford Prison Experiment. Although uncalled for by any higher authority, people in power can take their powers out of hand.
However, events like Abu Ghraib make me curious as to if similar torture is done in the name of “interrogation”. Although the use of force and torture is illegal and the U.S government claims to not condone acts of torture in interrogation, in the past, waterboarding has been used in an attempt to extract information. Information was collected through harsh interrogation techniques according to the CIA, but those techniques have not been used in years, most likely due to the outrage of human rights groups and the general public who saw the interrogation techniques as inhumane.
Is the use of inhumane treatment ever justified? If there is suspect evidence that a person has done something wrong or knows valuable information pertaining to someone who has done something terrible, is it wrong to try to forcibly extract information for the good of your cause? My first thought is no. No, people should never be treated inhumanely. Although revenge may sound justified, is there really any logical reason to exact revenge? In the end the person in question, if guilty, will be sentenced to death.
What if that person is not guilty, but is harboring information pertaining to the whereabouts of the guilty one? Is it then right to forcibly extract the information? I feel that it is only necessary and proper to forcibly extract information from someone, if that information will protect civilians, ex: Where is the bomb? I do not believe it should be used for the use of locating a person or group of people that do not present an eminent danger.
Although I may be able to forgive the soldiers who participated in the Abu Ghraib events, one should never forget. Similar events have played out in history prior to Abu Ghraib, and if we are not careful, will happen again in the future. The military needs to be aware of how prisons and prison guards are monitored. A system of checks and balances should be in place that does not allow for prison guards to get to high on their horses. Perhaps a rigid schedule should have been made, similar to the ones in federal prisons that does not allow for extra time to fool around and as Rush Limbaugh said to have, “emotional release.”