Blog #6

If I were to write a short entry about Abu Graib in a highschool history textbook it would go something like this:

Abu Graib is a city in Iraq where American’s held prisoners of war. Abu Graib is also the name now used for the human rights scandal. January 13, 2004 is when this first came to light when Spc. Joseph Darby handed over horrific images of detainee abuse to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID). The next day, the Army launched a criminal investigation.Less than 4 months later, the 279 photos and 19 videos of horrific torture and abuse of the detainees and grossly insensitive actions of the soldiers. The stories were published, introducing the world to the devastating torture. Eventually Bush had the prison closed down and the detainees relocated. 

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US soldier Lynndie England and a leashed Abu Ghraib prisoner.

From other wars and conflicts and history it is commonly known that torture occurs with prisoners of war to get them to spill information about various things such as attack plans and the location of the higher ups of the enemy. There are accepted forms of torture to inflict pain or soften the prisoners so they are willing to talk. Abu Graib surpassed the norm and accepted forms. Not only that, the soldiers themselves were the ones documenting the devastating abuse and in some cases getting some amusement or pleasure out of it. The lines were crossed in the sexual nature of the abuse. 

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“Naked Iraqi pyramid”

If it happened in Abu Graib, most likely it was occurring in the other prisons in Iraq as well. If the soldiers came back home to America from the prison and told the stories of what happened, people probably would not believe it or not be able to actually grasp it. That is why the soldiers themselves took the pictures and the videos and that was also their biggest mistake and why the investigation was launched. Sorting through the photos and videos, it had to be determined whether or not they torture tactics fell into “standard operating procedure.” 

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The CIA and government policymakers all bear some responsibility for the abuses, as of March 2006 nine enlisted soldiers have been prosecuted for their crimes at Abu Ghraib. An additional four soldiers and eight officers, including Brinson, Pappas and Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of military police at Abu Ghraib, have been reprimanded. Jail time is still being served for two. 

Abu Graib should 100% be included in textbooks because I am a firm believer of the importance of learning history so we do not repeat the past. This was a mistake and everyone should take it in and learn from it so something like this does not happen again. The War on Terror is an ugly war from the beginning all throughout and Abu Graib I believe is a microcosm of the entire war. I wouldn’t necessary want my highschool sons and daughters to see the gruesome nudes but it is important to know the big details such as what kind of things happened, the investigation, the evidence (the fact that the soldiers themselves took the pictures and wanted them shared), the consequences of those held accountable, and how it effects us and the rest of our country.

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