The Corner

Lessons From Abu Ghraib

Kathryn, if the allegations are true, that captain’s sleazy behavior was a disgrace, but I don’t think that it’s possible to draw any wider conclusions about the effect of pornography in their wake.

Something else to consider is the suggestion (implicitly made <a href="”>here by Instapundit) that the abuse of Iraqis by US troops in Abu Ghraib could be a reflection of the way in which sexual humiliation and violence in American jails now seems to be accepted (and sometimes even celebrated). Of course, we do not yet know all the details of what went on. We know even less about the motivation of the individuals against whom these allegations are being made, but it is striking that a number came from prison guard jobs back home. Now, this could simply be explained by the fact that (a) corrections officers were a natural choice for the army to make when deciding who should work as guards at Abu Ghraib, and (b) that there can always be bad apples in any group. It’s also important to stress that the vast majority of prison guards in the US are decent people doing a tough job under very trying circumstances. Nevertheless, it never does any harm to ask again whether jailhouse brutality ends up brutalizing the society that condones it.

The answer, I would think, is clear.

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