Into the Abyss: A Study of American Torture, Power, and Impunity in Iraq
Revelations of abuse committed by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in the spring of 2004 shocked the world, inciting protest against the American occupation of lraq and sparking a fierce debate over the use of the use of torture by U.S. forces. This essay frames the assumption of American atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq with the everyday realities experienced by American personnel on the ground. By way of this "bottom-up" approach a more holistic view of the factors that lead to the adoption of abusive practices is offered which balances the subjective experiences of soldiers with the role of formal policies in facilitating the slide into the "abyss." It concludes that not only were American excesses a formative part of the war but inseparable from the conflict itself- it is impossible to understand one without the other.