The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

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"A Few Good Men" Comparative Analysis Marianne Szegedy- Maszak's "The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal: Sources of Sadism" summarizes two experiments conducted where people participated in tortuous acts because authority told them. Szegedy-Maszak states there are three factors which play a role in torture, those are: authorization, routinization, and dehumanization (76). In "The My Lai Massacre: A Military Crime of Obedience", Herbert C. Kelman and V. Lee Hamilton argue the acts carried out were sanctioned massacres performed by military personnel on a people group who were seen as "expendable" (Kelman & Hamilton 137-141). In the movie A Few Good Men, Dawson, Downey, Markinson, and Kendrick all follow unethical orders; however, two of the characters…show more content…
Jessup and Lt. Kendrick; however, in the circumstance the orders were followed, Dawson and Markinson did not perceive them as unethical. Kelman and Hamilton would explain these actions by stating they were authorized by a superior officer and to be followed without question. This is evident in Lt. William Calley's military trial for murder. Lt. Calley was on trial for killing men, women, and children during the My Lai Massacre. He stated the reason he followed the orders to decimate the village was because "... by refusing the order in the face of the enemy, you could be sentenced to death" (Kelman & Hamilton 136). If what the authors say is true, then Dawson and Markinson were merely following orders for the purpose of self-preservation. The Cambridge Dictionary defines self-preservation as “behavior based on characteristics or feelings that warn people to protect them from danger” (Cambridge). Likewise, Szegedy-Maszak agrees with Kelman and Hamilton in saying Dawson and Markinson were trying to maintain self-preservation; however, she further explains they were under the influence of authorization (Szegedy-Maszak 76). She defines authorization to mean when someone with high power says an individual’s actions are acceptable whether or not they are ethical or legal; therefore, when Lt. Kendrick ordered the Code Red, Dawson was working under the authority of his commanding…show more content…
Downey was merely following the lead of his friend and squad leader, Corporal Dawson. Similarly, Lt. Kendrick was following Col. Jessup due to the fact he respected him and did not want to look bad. Kelman and Hamilton would define this routinization, which is when a person partakes in an action without considering implications and acquiring no decision forming capabilities (140). If what they believe is valid, then Downey and Kendrick would simply be following orders without processing the consequences of said actions and forming decision based on what others commanded. An example of routinization is conveyed through a 2011 Case study by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, "Under US law, military orders given by proper commanders are presumed to be lawful"; following this logic, military personnel would not necessarily think of the repercussions of their actions acting prior to acting them out (Ordinary Soldiers...). Szegedy-Maszak would also agree with Kelman and Hamilton in determining this to be a result of routinization. She believes routinization is "… a parceling out of responsibility" which absolves the individual of responsibility. In the article, "The Nanking Massacre: Another Crime of Obedience?", it states the routinization process played a role in violent murders and rapes during the Nanking massacre, when limited, if any, moral thought was given before proceeding in

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