It IS “More Wrong”

I’ve seen peo­ple (includ­ing some I like and respect) com­par­ing the abuse of pris­on­ers at Abu Ghraib after the US took con­trol of the prison with the treat­ment the Iraqis faced under Sad­dam Hus­sein’s rule. They keep say­ing that because it was­n’t “nor­mal” for the abuse to hap­pen, and because there were few­er peo­ple abused and it did­n’t go on for as long, it isn’t as bad as things were before.

There isn’t any kind of math­e­mat­ics for this kind of crime. The fact that there were more inci­dents of tor­ture, rape, and mur­der at that prison in years past than there were in the last year does­n’t lessen the impact of these crimes. The old­er offens­es can­not be used in any way to excuse the new.

The tor­tur­ers in Amer­i­can uni­forms grew up in a soci­ety that says, very clear­ly, that what they did was wrong. Always, in every cir­cum­stance, com­plete­ly, 100% wrong. Our cul­tur­al con­text makes what they did “more wrong” than it would be for some­one who grew up in a soci­ety where that was nor­mal. In an absolute sense, yes, it’s wrong, peri­od. In a rel­a­tive sense, in con­text, the Amer­i­can tor­tur­ers bear more culpability.

We’re in Iraq (and Afghanistan) say­ing that our way is bet­ter. That way includes the notion that every indi­vid­ual deserves to be treat­ed with respect. That every human has the right to live with­out tor­ture, rape, or mur­der. That no child should be blown up on the way to school, shot while play­ing, or be killed when rock­ets hit her home.

The crim­i­nals who dis­graced their uni­forms con­tra­dict that message.

Cur­rent Mood: 🤔pen­sive
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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