The Trials of Abu Ghraib: An Expert Witness Account of Shame and Honor

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Paradigm Publishers, 2007 - Law - 235 pages
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Recent headlines show that the prisoner abuse scandal is still very much an issue. Just this summer, a new trial began for yet another U.S. soldier. The Trials of Abu Ghraib (Paradigm Publishers 2006) by S.G. Mestrovic, an expert witness on three of the convicted soldiers’ courts-martials, reveals surprising new facts about the military scandal that shocked the world and disgraced the United States military.

Mestrovic reveals that the judge, who presided over all the trials, insisted that the Army was not on trial. He added, “I don’t want this long discussion about White House involvement.” He and the Prosecution resolutely kept the U.S. Government reports—which implicate military officials high in the chain of command—out of testimony. They suppressed testimony that the abuse at Abu Ghraib is part of a widespread pattern of abuse that was imported from Guantanamo and made its way to Afghanistan and Iraq.

This book reveals that the military staff lived in cells little better than those of prisoners, in a chaotic environment that spawned abuse of female soldiers as well as detainees. Mestrovic also discusses how women and children were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib alongside the men and many of these prisoners were ordinary Iraqis who had no information to give to interrogators. Soldiers testified that Abu Ghraib was chaotic, filthy, and unsanitary for soldiers and prisoners alike. Despite these conditions of filth, mayhem, and acceptance of violence, the government shifted all criminal blame and responsibility onto the lowest-ranking soldiers who were least able to stop the abuse.

Most importantly, The Trials of Abu Ghraib cites documents that had been suppressed in court, yet later leaked to Mestrovic by military personnel. These papers, quoted and discussed in the book, prove that the abuse at Abu Ghraib was part of a widespread and systematic pattern, and while the convicted soldiers were undoubtedly guilty of abuse, there are still high military officials who have yet to be held accountable.

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The Trials of Abu Ghraib: An Expert Witness Account of Shame and Honor

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Mestrovic (The Balkanization of the West ) was an expert witness at three of the seven courts-martial of U.S. soldiers for abuse at Abu Ghraib. Unsatisfied with the military justice that ensued, he ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

S.G. Mestrovic is Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University and is the author of many books, including This Time We Knew: Western Responses to Genocide in Bosnia (with Thomas Cushman, New York University Press 1996). He was a consultant and expert witness at the International Court of the Tribunal for Yugoslavia in the Hague and as well as the Abu Ghraib courts-martials for Javal Davis, Sabrina Harman, and Lynndie England.

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