Die Banalität von Abu Ghraib

Angesichts der steigenden Zahl von weltweit publizierten Bildern erniedrigter irakischer Gefangener sind viele Menschen ebenso verwundert wie entrüstet. Wie können amerikanische Soldaten, ob sie nun auf Befehl oder auf eigene Verantwortung handelten, in Anbetracht ihres brutalen Verhaltens derart unbekümmert, ja sogar ausgelassen erscheinen?

Natürlich haben übereifrige Vernehmungsbeamte des Militärgeheimdienstes ebenso wie die selbstherrliche Haltung der Bush-Administration hinsichtlich des Völkerrechts auch zu dieser Krise beigetragen. Allerdings haben nur wenige Kommentatoren ihr Augenmerk auf den Schauplatz dieses makabren Schauspiels gelegt, bei dem es sich nicht um ein Schlachtfeld, sondern um ein Gefängnis handelt.

Strafvollzugsexperten sind am wenigsten überrascht von den grotesken Berichten, die aus Abu Ghraib durchsickern. Sie wissen um die Tatsache, dass es in Gefängnissen als einzigartig kontroverse und autoritäre Institutionen regelmäßig zu Verhaltensmustern kommt, die weithin als verkommen gelten, aber hinter Gittern akzeptabel - ja sogar normal - scheinen. Tatsächlich wurden einige der Aufsehen erregendsten Gefängnisskandale in den USA publik, wo sowohl in absoluten Zahlen als auch an der Einwohnerzahl gemessen, mehr Menschen in Haft sitzen als in jedem anderen Land.

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