Abu Ghraib Book Report

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The modern day world has seen and heard of so much evil that some of us have become numb to it, and begin instead to see evil as normal or ordinary in this lifetime. Almost everyday, we hear about mass shootings, bombings, murders, stabbings, and many more horrendous acts of violence. Numerous public figures, leaders, and passionate peace-makers have dedicated their lives trying to understand how a so-called “normal” human being can commit these crimes so ruthlessly. The answer lies in what we do with the evil that so evidently exists- do we ignore it and let it continue, or do we try and understand its complexity in detail in order to prevent these acts of evil from occurring so often? One fearless researcher who continuously succeeds in…show more content…
Abu Ghraib was used by military personnel from the United States (US) Army to house approximately 7,490 prisoners from the war in Iraq in March of 2004. Countless cases of physical, psychological and sexual abuse were committed by members of the US military. It was only until April of 2004 that extremely graphic photographs, depicting what was really going on in Abu Ghraib came to the media’s attention when a news report was released. Of course, the military officers were put to justice and stood in front of a jury, for their prison sentences to be determined based on the crimes they committed in the Prison. During this time, Zimbardo himself was an expert witness at the court, defending Sgt. Ivan Frederick (one of the guards at Abu Ghraib). Zimbardo argued that Sgt. Frederick’s sentence should be less harsh that what was originally suggested, since very few people would be able successfully resist the “situational pressures” of a prison of such an environment. However, Frederick’s plea was automatically denied, and he was sent off with the maximum sentence of 8 years. It was from his involvement and experience in this particular case (along with his Stanford Prison Experiment study) that Philip Zimbardo wrote his book “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil”. The significance of the events that occurred at the Abu Ghraib Prison is evident as Zimbardo goes on to mention his realization that the happenings are directly parallel to the results found during the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). He points out that just like the unprepared US Military personnel in Abu Ghraib, the students chosen to play the roles of guards in the SPE were forced to operate the
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