Essay Cases of Obedience in the Abu Ghraib Case

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The acts of torture performed on the inmates at Abu Ghraib were both cruel and inhumane. But what if the reason the guards tortured the inmates was due to the result of obedience from their superiors. The cause of the torture of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib could have stemmed from situational factors instead of the will of a few aggressive soldiers. Authority figures that use persuasive methods can be very influential. There are many circumstantial possibilities as to why the guards treated the prisoners cruelly. Most people don't attribute the torture to many situational and external causes. In this case, most people attribute the torture to the internal faults of the guards when it could very well be outside sources at fault. Fear…show more content…
"Issue involvement is a type of involvement in which the attitudinal issue under consideration has important consequences for the self" (Franzoi, 2003, Pg 217). Once again, fear could have been an issue in the persuasion of the guards. The guards realized that they had to do their jobs and act in compliance with orders or face the consequences. In many of the torture pictures at Abu Ghraib, the prisoners are wearing bags on their heads or something to mask their face. The supervisors of the jail could have masked the inmates to make the guards feel less responsible about the vicious acts. Since the victim was masked and cannot tell who is torturing them, a kind of separation is created between the guard and the inmate. "The results are also unequivocal in relation to the distance from the direct exertion of violence: the greater the distance, the less the subjects feel responsible and the greater the obedience" (Meeus & Raaijmakers 159). By masking the prisoners a sense of deindividualization and lack of self-awareness occurred because the soldier knows that the inmate does not know who he/she is. "Without such self-awareness, the deindividuated don't think of themselves as separate individuals and do not attend to their own inner values and behavioral standards" (Franzoi 336). With this sense of deindividualization, the guards performed actions they normally would not ever do. Since they remained anonymous with the
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