After viewing the documentary on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, I felt overwhelmed with emotions of embarrassment, anger, severe sadness, and an urge to figure out why the United States would reprimand the soldiers that were following orders, yet honor the man that had commanded and urged their actions. The HBO documentary showed the irony of the situation regarding General Geoffrey Miller and his “service” to the United States. The paradox that is found in the United States reaction to the reports of torture seem to be centered around the accountability for psychological influence or manipulation. To further clarify the situation, the soldiers were held responsible for their actions that were inflicted upon the detainees. They were taught ways of torture that do not create pain, but rather psychological repercussions and psychological pain. After doing further research, I found that the CIA has constructed numerous studies on the proper ways of managing torture victims to make them feel as though they are inflicting pain upon themselves. Through this, they are able to beat the detainee down enough psychologically that they succumb to the interrogator. The psychological pain and manipulation is a lot harder to overcome in comparison to physical torture. The inability to simply overcome psychological torture reiterates the power of the mind and the way experiences can alter psyche of a person.
The soldiers were held accountable for the manipulation of the detainees’ psychological stress, yet it seems their own psychological reliability should have been in question. The Stanford Prison Experiment in conjunction with the Milgram Experiment reiterates human beings willingness to comprise their moral obligations when put in a position of authority and instructed on how to behave. These two studies are easily accessed and readily known nation wide.
The soldiers are held responsible for their behavior towards the detainees, yet why was General Miller not considered the ultimate source of the behavior. It seems to me there is a double standard occurring here that may be completely political, yet morally corrupt and a violation of the soldiers human rights. If they are going to be held for the psychological distress they ensued under the presumption they are benefitting the country, would it not make sense to hold General Miller accountable for his behavior under the same principle. Psychological torture has not been given enough attention in our society and in the United States. It is evident that the amount of pain someone can endure without being touched may even exceed physical harm or pain. If this is true, why haven’t we taken greater action to figuring out a better way to judge psychological pain. What are some ways in which we could account for psychological issues? Do you feel like freedom from psychological torture is a human right? How could these problems be judged?