(Eassy 61) Wielding Masculinity Inside Abu Ghraib

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Essay 61, which was about the US soldiers torturing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib detention center was one of the hardest essays I have ever had to read. Reading the description of how the US soldiers degraded the Iraqi prisoners by making them strip of their clothes and perform sexual acts with one another is not only wrong, but goes against everything this country believes. Personally, I think it is very important to actually go online and view the actual photos of the torturing. While I’ve heard about the torturing trials before and read the descriptions in this essay, I still feel that it necessary to see the photos so you can truly get a good idea of the situation and get a better understanding of what it must of felt like for the Iraqi prisoners. While some people may argue that these people were prisoners and that’s why it was ok to torture them, I believe that it is never right to torture another human being.

As I read some of the descriptions in the essay, I tried to look for these depictions in the pictures I had googled. Seeing pictures of the soldiers smiling was probably the hardest thing to see. I found it absolutely mind boggling that these people could actually do these horrific acts and then smile in front of the camera while wearing the uniform of the United States. Not only did these soldiers’s commit crimes of war by violating the Geneva Convention, UN Convention Against Torture, and a US anti-torture law, but they gave a bad name to the US army around the world. Personally, I have a lot of respect for the armed forces. While I felt like the author tried demonizing the armed forces by listing a number of other scandals that took place in the military, I feel that it is not in my place to criticize an institution that I do not have a proficient amount of knowledge about.

The part of the essay that struck me to be relatively interesting was all the mentioning about Lynndie England, the female participant who can be seen in the photos degrading the prisoners. The author mentions that most people don’t tend to think women take part in things like this and that when it comes to major violent or sexual acts, they are done by men. I personally don’t understand this thought process because while men statistically do commit more sexual and violent crimes, especially in armed forces, it should not be surprising if a woman were to do the same thing. Finally, the last point I want to mention is the author’s assumption as to why Lynndie England might have participated in these crimes. The author talks about the ratio of males to females in the military and how females might feel they might have to do whatever they can to try to fit in with the rest of the group. The author mentions that if Lynndie would have tried to intervene with the tortures, the male soldiers might find her to be to “feminine” and not let her join their group. While I still condone the actions, I believe this is a very good point because I think everyone knows someone who has done something in a group that they regret that they would never do individually.

Here is a link to an Interview by the BBC asking Lynndie England why she went along with the torturing of soldiers. Its pretty interesting.


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