Originally I would have told you that humiliation in front of peers, while being degrading, unfortunate and unsettling, was most likely not torture. After seeing Ghosts of Abu Graib however, I wish to recant my previous view. I see the events that our government allowed and minimally punished as torture now, and it causes me to wonder where the boundaries really do lie. The boundaries that I refer to are not just those of our classification of torture but also of our perception of ourselves. I think that it is really interesting that we find ourselves in the precarious position of a hypocritical nation that is supposedly spreading peace and standing against terrorism while still behaving in this manner. (I hope that I am not alone in this sentiment)
The movie made me consider America's reaction to Japan after WWII when looking at how their army had treated the Chinese in Nanjing. Americans expressed such a wave of disgust at the horrid things (so horrid that I refrain from writing them here but I encourage anyone who does not know the particulars to look, as long as they promise not to blame me for the mental scarring that will follow) that these military men inflicted on the masses. Even more shocking was the Japanese response to the American wave of objection, which was that they were emulating our own government's handling of the enemy, which they based off of our previous war encounters. They thought that they were acting in the same way that "civilized westerners" acted. Even more disturbing is that they were not that far from the truth about us- one only has to look to the Spanish American war, or the U.S.A.'s involvement in squashing rebellions in South America to see this.
I had hoped that we had advanced in time from these brutal practices, yet this film shows me that the practices have only been switched torturing from the physical to the mental, totally reversing my standpoint on what torture is. So now I put it to you- am I the only one having this issue? What are your thoughts?