A comparative analysis into U.S. military abuses at the My Lai massacre and Abu Ghraib prison scandal
Carroll, Lisa I.
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Incidents of abuse by U.S. service members, even if few and far between, have nearly irreversible impacts on the United States, including straining foreign relations, decreasing public support of U.S. policy, and negating counterterrorism efforts. A lot of research exists to discover why individuals participate in abuse, but little is known why individuals report abuse. This thesis looks at various models and their subcomponent elements from four bodies of literature: psychology; terrorist engagement; terrorist disengagement, deradicalization, and non-radicalization; and gang involvement, to better understand the disparate behavior between abusers and whistleblowers. After extracting applicable elements, a preliminary model to explain the difference between abusers and whistleblowers is formed, and then tested comparatively against two case studies: the My Lai massacre, and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The preliminary model is then discarded of elements that failed to explain the differences in behavior, leaving a final model. Measures to deter abuse and encourage reporting are then derived from this final model, leaving the reader with an enhanced understanding of not just why individuals participate in abuse, but why, under relatively similar conditions, others actively stop or report the abuse.
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