What Went Wrong at Abu Ghraib?

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Application: What Went Wrong at Abu Ghraib?

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one would question that the events that took place in Abu Ghraib in
2004 (Gilman & Lewis, 2005) were unethical, but when it comes to
identifying the causes, opinions vary greatly. While individuals are
ultimately responsible for their own ethical behavior, institutional and
situational causes provide the breeding ground for ethical breaches to
occur. It is important to explore historical situations that provide
insight into how the abuse of power leads to unethical decision making.

To prepare for this assignment:

  • Review Chapter 3 of the course text The Ethics Challenges in Public Service and focus on institutional challenges to ethical leadership.
  • Review Chapters 5 and 6 of the Frontline
    documentary “The Torture Question” and think about the institutional
    challenges and possible underlying causes of unethical conduct of the
    guards at Abu Ghraib.
  • Review
    the Stanford Prison Experiment slides. Think about what Zimbardo called
    the “power of the situation” and how preconceived notions contributed
    to the behaviors of both the student guards and the student prisoners.
  • Consider
    the institutional challenges and possible causes of unethical behavior
    that contributed to the guards’ ethical breaches at Abu Ghraib.
  • Identify two underlying causes or institutional challenges that led to the ethical breaches at Abu Ghraib.

The assignment (1–2 pages):

  • Identify one individual, one institutional, and one situational ethical breach that took place at Abu Ghraib.
  • For each identified ethical breach, suggest an underlying cause or institutional challenge.
  • Explain how insights gained from the Stanford Prison Experiment might apply to each underlying cause or institutional challenge.

your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources
used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list for
all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this


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