A Proposal for America: Eliminate Detainee Torture in Military-Run Prisons

Essay by mborn41University, Bachelor's May 2006

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Torture in military-run prisons captured the attention of the American people because of the disturbing pictures that emerged from Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad, Iraq. As a country trying to clean up its reputation, relying on torture as a method of subjugation and interrogation, is not only unwise for our image, it is also cruel and largely unproductive. Torture is not impossible to remedy; with meticulous regulation of detention facilities, a better definition of "humane treatment" and more explicit wording in anti-torture legislation the United States can lead by example, through maintaining torture-free detention facilities.

Torture is an appalling corruption of the guard/prisoner relationship; detainees are very vulnerable to abuse and the soldiers take advantage of that. Online author and political analyst, Ron Paul wrote "A decent society does not accept or justify torture": this is a true statement, but whether or not American society is a "decent society" is debatable ("Torture, War, and Presidential Powers").

According to soldiers who witnessed the abuse at Abu Ghraib, detainees were being hit with baseball bats, having their limbs broken, being exposed to extremes of hot and cold, and enduring food and sleep deprivation ("Pentagon dismisses new report on US military torture in Iraq" November 2005). According to an article in the Guardian, the general in charge of Abu Ghraib prison, along with six of his subordinates are "facing disciplinary measures." ("US Military in Torture Scandal" April 2004). This is not an isolated incident; Human Rights First states that there have been almost 600 criminal investigations of U.S. soldiers regarding alleged detainee abuse (humanrightsfirst.org). These accounts and statistics prove that torture is not only disgraceful and unjustified, but (worst of all) it is epidemic.

Torture was wrongly perpetrated against the detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, all of whom are protected under the...