Culpa y vergüenza en Abu Ghraib George P. Fletcher

Siempre que los gobiernos pierden autoridad moral, como cuando su policía obtiene evidencia violando la Constitución, se ven afectados los fundamentos para la condena. Como dijera al final de su vida el juez de la Corte Suprema de los EEUU, Louis Brandeis, el gobierno debe erigirse y mantenerse como el "maestro omnipresente" de nuestros más altos ideales. En el escándalo de Abu Ghraib, el ejército y la administración Bush difícilmente han sido buenos maestros, y el público y los medios de comunicación también han sido cómplices. ¿Cómo, entonces, pueden los que son colectivamente culpables presentar cargos y señalar con el dedo a algunos sospechosos como individualmente culpables?

No hay duda de que esto invita a un debate acerca de la amplitud de la responsabilidad colectiva por la tortura y otras indecencias. ¿Debería ser culpa o vergüenza la reacción adecuada del público? Muchos han leído y visto lo suficiente como para sentir un alto grado de vergüenza por ser parte de una nación que pudo ir a la guerra con ideas virtuosas y terminar replicando, si no agravando, los abusos del "estado canalla" al que los estadounidenses llamaban su enemigo.

Dicen que la culpa se basa en lo que hacemos; la vergüenza, en quienes somos. Ni la vasta mayoría de los soldados de EEUU ni los estadounidenses como individuos han hecho nada malo en Irak (aparte de la invasión misma), y esto podría aducirse ante los alegatos de culpa colectiva por las atrocidades. Sin embargo, en otros casos de acción colectiva, afirmamos voluntariamente que tenemos culpa colectiva y un deber común de hacer reparaciones. Este fue el enfoque ampliamente aceptado hacia la responsabilidad alemana por el Holocausto, y hay muchos que insisten en el mismo enfoque hacia la responsabilidad de Estados Unidos por la esclavitud.

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