Thursday, February 28, 2008

More and Worse Pictures From Abu Ghraib

When I think of the name Abu Ghraib, the images made infamous a couple of years ago sear themselves into my mind. It is hard not to remember them. Images of prisoners being attacked by dogs, stacked like human cordwood, stripped naked and humiliates and being subjected to all manner of abuse.

Philip Zimbardo, the psychologist who supervised the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and later wrote about the experience in his book, The Lucifer Effect has been on the speaking circuit with a presentation about the effects of power and how it corrupts people. Part of that speech are startling new photos previously unseen from Abu Ghraib and they are equally disturbing.

The depths to which people sank and the level of cruelty is stunning. One picture of a prisoner standing naked, coated in what I can only imagine is feces stretched the bounds of decency to a point where I cannot remain objective. Yet aside from the outrage, I think the new pictures highlight a bigger problem and that is what the policies of our government have spawned.

Sending untrained or poorly trained soldiers into civilian positions in a situation like running a prison lead to abuses. Why? Mainly because their training is as soldiers not guards in a penal system, especially one in a foreign country. Their situation is a sign of how little planning went into the entire Iraq operation and it is endemic of the Bush administration. Bush seems ready to “shoot from the hip” on matters that take planning and strategy. He seems more than willing to fill positions that should be occupied by career civil servants with political hacks. In his effort to politicize the entire government, he has gutted both the civilian and military’s ability to effectively plan and deal with crises. Need proof, look at Katrina!


slavedog fang said...

never seen the first shot before - is that a gun shot wound SIR?

the one photo that always affected this slavedog deeply was this one:
i find it increadibly hard to look at.

the Bush 'legacy' will have more of a profoundly negative and far reaching effect than any ecological/climate change that's for sure.

Hardy Haberman said...

I am not sure if it is a gunshot wound. The pictures haunt me because they are what the world sees when they think of America in the Middle East and that is the problem.