Busted Halo
December 2nd, 2008

Torture & American Culture—An Inquiry and Reflection: Panel 1

Popular Culture, Graphic Representations of Torture and Violence


Panel 1, part 1 (see parts 2 and 3 below)

The photographs that revealed the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib shocked the world. American military personnel and civilian contractors are seen engaged in practices prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, the Army Field Manual, and U.S. and international law. Further revelations about CIA rendition policies, deaths in custody, Guantanamo detainees, and government secrecy raise critical questions about U.S. culture and the practices and conditions that have fostered the resort to torture.

This Headline Forum, sponsored by the Fordham Center for Religion and Culture examined two issues:

  1. What in U.S. culture predisposes us to torture or to a tolerance for torture?
  2. What strengths and weaknesses have U.S. leadership groups (political, military, religious, medical, psychological, legal, etc.) exhibited in responding to the current controversies over torture?

Panel 1 Moderator: Bill McGarvey, Editor-in-Chief, Busted Halo, Online Magazine
Panel: David Danzig, Human Rights First, Director, Primetime Torture Project, Professor Todd Gitlin, Columbia University School of Journalism, Richard Alleva, Film Critic, Commonweal

Panel 1, part 2

Panel 1, part 3

The Author : The Editors

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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Gennie

    Nice work, although I am absolutely disgusted that Abu Ghraib is being compared to interrogation practices that are widely used. What happened at Abu Ghraib was 7 soldiers being stupid, nothing else. It has nothing to do with their training, policies on detainee operations, with the people in charge of them. Saying the Abu Ghraib incident is representative of military policy and/or training that applies to all of us is like saying all priests are pedophiles, which is certainly NOT true. Though I don’t agree with some of the allowed interrogation techniques, I disagree with Mr. Danzig on the “dual life.” I’m not an interrogator, but I am a Marine. I kill people. I am a peacekeeper. I am a liberator. I am a nation-builder. I train foreign militaries to kill people. The mission can change from one day to the next. We know how to change gears. I watch war movies. I like them. It doesn’t affect my ability to do my peaceful tasks. Also, the report from the LT about the junior soldiers – a LT has less time in the military than non-commissioned officers. He’s senior because he sat in a classroom for 4 years. Take what he says about junior soldiers with a grain of salt.

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