Abu Ghraib no es novedad

A medida que el mundo se ve inundado de nuevas imágenes de la degradación a que han sido sometidos los prisioneros iraquíes, muchos de quienes las han visto se sienten tan indignados como furiosos. ¿Cómo es posible que soldados estadounidenses comunes y corrientes, hayan seguido órdenes o actuado por su cuenta, parezcan tan despreocupados, o incluso entusiasmados, ante sus brutales conductas?

No hay duda de que la crisis se ha precipitado en parte gracias a los interrogadores de la inteligencia militar, que han actuando con un celo absolutamente excesivo, y también a la actitud despótica y arbitraria de la Administración Bush hacia la ley internacional. Pero pocos comentaristas han puesto suficiente atención sobre el sitio de este macabro teatro de operaciones... no un campo de batalla, sino una prisión.

Los expertos en prisiones se encuentran, a lo menos, sorprendidos por los grotescos informes filtrados desde Abu Ghraib. Reconocen que las prisiones, como instutuciones particularmente divisivas y autoritarias, con regularidad dan origen a conductas que al resto del mundo le parecen depravadas, pero que se convierten en aceptables (e incluso normales) tras los barrotes. De hecho, algunos de los escándalos en prisiones que han recibido mayor publicidad han surgido en los Estados Unidos, que encarcela a más gente en términos absolutos y per cápita que cualquier otro país del mundo.

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