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The system was authorized by Mr. Bush explicitly in his signing statements. Authoritarian personalities in the line officers took it from there. Few questioned either the morality or legality of the abuse. In his book, The Lucifer Effect, Zimbardo gets very specific. He indicts

  • President Bush--where the buck ultimately stops
  • Vice President Cheney--prime mover in Iraq War
  • Alberto Gonzales--wrote opinion that torture is legal
  • Donald Rumsfeld--number 2 in chain of command
  • George Tenet--CIA Director
  • Joint Chiefs of staff he doesn't mention
  • Richard Sanchez--Lieutenant General
  • Geoffrey Miller--Major General
  • Thomas Pappas--Colonel
  • Steven Jordan--Lieutenant Colonel

Then there was Captain Fishback. He tried to stop the abuse for 17 long months. Sequestered for interrogation, he wrote Senator John McCain: "If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is America."

So much for the “ABU GHRAIB SYSTEM,” created by a few Bad Apples at the top and carried out by overly Obedient Authoritarians.

Link to: Stanford Prison Experiment

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