Friday, September 16, 2011

Abu Ghraib and Loss of the Moral Imperative

Philip Gourevitch collaborated with renowned filmmaker Errol Morris to create the book Standard Operating Procedure about the ramped abuses that were committed by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The pictures have become etched into the memories of many a political science student and outraged countless Americans when they were splashed across every major network news broadcast, several years ago.

 Many would claim that the waging of war articulates special rules that would in fact allow for such behavior as displayed in those pictures. I’ve said on this blog previously that terrorists occupy a certain sub humanity, but at Abu Ghraib the Americans didn’t have the faintest concept whether they had blood lusty jihadists or innocents. The reprehensible behavior displayed at Abu Ghraib may have created more terror than it prevented.

In committing these abuses, the United States largely lost the moral imperative that comes with democracy. Democracies have certain expectations like respect for human rights, rules of war, and basic human dignity. By treating everyday Iraqis as though they are dogs, you’ve in effect placed yourself on similar or the same moral footing as Saddam Hussein, which is a ground no democracy can afford.

The U.S. was supposed to be granted as liberators from Saddam’s tyranny…but Abu Ghraib creating an open question “If the liberators can commit such brutal acts, than what are we being liberated to. Human rights and public opinion mean a lot in this war. If we lose the battle for the hearts and minds of Iraqis or Afghanis, than we might as well go home.

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