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The Real Meaning of Abu Ghraib

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Journal Article - Open Access

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United States Air Force Academy Air Force Academy United States

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It has been a decade since the world learned about Abu Ghraib. The abuses depicted in the photographs with which we are all now so familiar occurred in the fall of 2003. It was not until April 2004, when photographs of the abuses appeared on Sixty Minutes II, that the public became aware of what had happened. Seymour Hersh, in a 10 May 2004 article in the New Yorker, set the tone for much of the subsequent discussion. The subtitle of his article was American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does the responsibility go Hersh concluded his article with a quotation from Gary Myers, civilian defense attorney for one of the soldiers who committed the abuses Im going to drag every involved intelligence officer and civilian contractor I can find into court. Do you really believe the Army relieved a general officer because of six soldiers Not a chance. From the outset, then, Abu Ghraib was construed as much more than a case of soldier misconduct. It was to be a story of the inevitable consequences of the administrations misguided approach to interrogation, detainee treatment, and torture, and the plight of a few low-level soldiers fingered as fall guys for those responsible higher up the chain.

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