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Abu Ghraib Essay

1149 words - 5 pages

In reference to its origin, on August 1st, 2002 a memorandum was sent from Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, with the Office of Legal Counsel in the US Justice Department to Alberto R. Gonzales, counsel to the president. The memo was written in response to a CIA request for legal guidance with the purpose to provide President Bush with a rationale and justification on the use of torture on potential Al Qaeda terrorists in order to extract information. The value of the source lies in the fact that the memo derived straight from the US Government and was drafted by President Bush’s legal advisors therefore contains reliable information. Since the document was never supposed to be revealed to the public, it provides a behind the scenes look into the intentions of the US government and how they felt at the time, which then makes the source very valuable. However since the purpose of the memo was to advise President Bush that the use of torture on Al Qaeda terrorists should be justified, the persuasive nature of the memo could lead to certain information being withheld to increase the argument’s strength, which then becomes a limitation.

Source 2: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib
In reference to the origin, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib is a documentary film, directed by Rory Kennedy and first aired on HBO in 2007. This documentary examines the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib and was produced for the purpose of informing and giving viewers an inside look on the truth behind the scandal. The fact that Kennedy interviews and uses first hand accounts of soldiers who used to work at Abu Ghraib prison and also of those who were detained and tortured increases its value since it presents two sides of the story from opposing viewpoints. Raw footage and photos of prisoners being brutally abused is shown in the documentary which also makes the source more valuable since it gives viewers visual aids and vouches for what the eye witness accounts are saying. On the other hand, having both the director and the producer of the documentary be Rory Kennedy, the daughter of US Senator Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy, sets forth the possibility of the documentary being both politically and emotionally biased due to her nationality and blood relation with a former US president which then becomes a limitation.

Due to the number of memorandums on torture that have been released to the public, holding high ranking officials on Bush’s administration accountable for the abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib seems highly reasonable. According to a memo written by the US Justice Dept., torture “may be justified” and international laws against torture “may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations” conducted in President Bush's war on terrorism (Bybee). Another memo that was signed off by Donald Rumsfeld approved a series of severe interrogation techniques including subjecting the captive to nudity and using their phobias to induce stress (Haynes). Clearly, the contents of these...

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