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American Public Opinion of Iraqi Prisoner Abuse: An Empirical Test of the Legitimacy and Recreancy Theoretical Frameworks


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AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION OF IRAQI PRISONER ABUSE: AN EMPIRICAL TEST OF THE LEGITIMACY AND RECR EANCY THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS By RACHEL L. TAYLOR A THESIS TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Rachel L. Taylor

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would first like to give my thanks to my thesis committee, Dr. Alex Piquero, Dr. Jeffrey S. Adler, and Dr. Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, for all of their time, patience, and commitment to my work. While each committee member added insightful and unique contributions to this thesis, Dr. Piquero help ed inspire this thesis ; without his guidance it would not have come to be. I would also like to thank my fellow gra duate students in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of Florida for their assistance. I would like to give a special thanks to those who went above and beyond their student role in order to facilitate the completion of this thes is: Kate Fox for keeping me sane, and both Matt Nobles, my student ment or, and Wesley Jennings fo r their vast statistical knowledge. Last, but certainly not leas t, I want to give a spec ial thanks to Dr. Meyer Kestnbaum, Professor of Sociology at the Un iversity of Maryland, College Park, for inspiring me to study war crimes, encour aging me to pursue progressively higher education, strengthening my confidence in my work, and for his sheer commitment to all of my academic and non-academic achievements.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES...............................................................................................................v ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... vi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.......................................................................................5 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................20 Data........................................................................................................................... ..20 Hypotheses..................................................................................................................20 Dependent Variables...................................................................................................21 Independent Variables................................................................................................23 Control Variables........................................................................................................25 Analytic Plan..............................................................................................................26 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................27 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS......................................................................34 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................38 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................41

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v LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Frequencies for Control Variables...........................................................................30 2 Descriptive Statistics................................................................................................30 3 Multiple Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with Concern/Anger.........................................................................................................31 4 Logistic Regression: War Worth Figh ting & Bush Apologize Associated with Big Deal....................................................................................................................31 5 Logistic Regression: Exposure to Medi a Associated with Wi despread/Isolated....31 6 Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting Associated with Crime.........................32 7 Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting Associated with Officers.....................32 8 Multiple Regression: Officers A ssociated with Concern/Anger.............................32 9 Logistic Regression: Officer s Associated with Big Deal........................................33 10 Multiple Regression: Exposure to Me dia Associated with Concern/Anger...........33 11 Logistic Regression: Exposure to Me dia Associated with Bush Apologize...........33

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vi Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION OF IRAQI PRSIONER ABUSE: AN EMPIRICAL TEST OF THE LEGITIMIACY AND RECREANCY THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS By Rachel L. Taylor December 2005 Chair: Alex Piquero Major Department: Criminology, Law and Society What explains American public opini on on who is responsible for the Iraqi prisoner abuse? Americans assessments of institutions shape their response to the abuse scandal, insofar as to blame the indi vidual or the instituti on. According to the literature, both recreancy and legitimacy have explanatory power. Freudenburg defines recreancy as, . the failure of institutional actors to carry out their responsibilities with the degr ee of vigor necessary to merit the societal trust they enjoy. When institutions ar e perceived as being recrean t, people are likely to be concerned. Tyler and Darley define le gitimacy as lawful, in accordance with accepted standards, and those authorities whic h are legitimate ought to be obeyed. For this thesis, legitimacy will be explored in the context of how individuals may or may not question legitimate authority as represented by military officers when they disagree with the official message. This thesis will also examine the medias effects

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vii and whether more or less exposure to me dia sources may influence American public opinion.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In examining Americans’ opinions on the Iraqi prisoner abuse, the elements that shape those opinions must first be determined. This thesis will explore key relationships between national norms of mora l responsibility and legitimac y, recreancy or institutional assessments, and how they relate to war crim es in general, and more specifically, how they relate to Americans’ views on who is responsible for the Iraqi prisoner abuse. Furthermore, this thesis will also explore media’s effects on the American public opinion. First and foremost, the United States is a nation that idealizes individuality and therefore individual responsibility. In relation to war criminals, the idea of individualizing guilt is as old as the Nu remburg Military Tribunals conducted after WWII. “…[P]rior to Nuremburg, the standard sanctions for violations of the laws of warfare had been either military reprisals or . reparations imposed by the victorious states upon the losers” (Levinson, 1973: 247). Skeptics argue that this change occurred in order to prosecute Nazi Germany more effectively (Kelman and Hamilton, 1989: 73). While some argue that individualizing guilt omits the idea of collective responsibility and the role of the state or society in the producti on of the criminal, others argue that there is no such thing as collective responsibility or that it is just a way of getting out of pinpointing guilty individuals. Despite the varying opinions on the subject and Nuremburg’s codification of individual responsi bility, the truth is that only relatively high-ranking soldiers were held to such st andards. Questions a bout responsibility may linger in the minds of the public due to the difficulty inherent in establishing

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2 responsibility with regards to the structured hi erarchy of the military. With regards to the Iraqi prisoner abuse, are th e superior officers of the pr ison guards responsible? How many of those officers should be charged as war criminals and how far up the chain of command should the responsibility fall? Opinions about state responsib ility are interlinke d with the indivi dual’s perceptions of the state’s legitimacy or illegitimacy: Wh ether or not the government and its actions are seen as legitimate may affect feelings of anger or disapproval about the Iraqi prisoner abuse. If the state’s actions are seen as legitimate, then those opinions about responsibility will more than likely reflect that In other words, one might expect that if the state’s actions are seen as legitimate, then individuals will not be as angry. Also, how the government deals with responsibility of war crimes may further influence feelings about the Iraqi prisoner abus e. Tyler and Darley define legitimacy as lawful, in accordance with accepted standards, and those au thorities which are legitimate “ought to be obeyed” (2000: 707). If the American publ ic feels that lower-r anking soldiers are subjects of the state, they may be more inc lined to feel that higher-ranking soldiers are responsible despite the American tradition of individual res ponsibility. Also, due to the vagueness of some laws of war, which has b een somewhat reflected in media coverage, the American public may further consider lo wer-ranking soldiers as less responsible. Military personnel are taught to obey their superi ors, therefore it may be expected that the American public will attribute the actual interp retation of the laws of war to the officers in charge. In addition, what can we expect when the state or any other legitimate institution becomes recreant? Since the 1960’s, the Ameri can people have been much more critical

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3 of its government than they had been during th e first half of the cen tury, especially in relation to war. America’s i nvolvement in the Vietnam war led to a massive decline in political trust from 1966-1975 (Cunningham, 2002: 520). Between 1980 and 1984 there was a slight recovery in public trust, but, acco rding to Miller and Borrelli, this increase was not fully established, nor was it due to a solution that solved th e root problem that caused the decline in the first place (1991: 153). This decline in public trust may be in part due to the government’s recreancy during this timeframe. According to Freudenburg’s definition of recreancy, the failu re of the institution, or the government, was its lack of success in Vietnam coupled with the massive loss of life endured by the nation. These experiences have made America’s ci tizens reluctant to enter a long-enduring war and may also affect how the government continues to be viewed today. Americans now prefer swift military action over a lasti ng involvement with international conflicts (Cunningham, 2002: 522). Feelings of fear and insecurity from the attacks of September 11th demanded immediate action from the world’ s strongest military power. Similar to America’s predicament in Vietnam, the U.S. ag ain finds itself in a situation that it cannot readily back out of. This thesis will furt her explore how increasi ng tensions between the Iraqis and Allied forces have lead to what we now refer to as the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Finally, in order to examine media’s eff ects on the American public opinion, it is important to identify what media the public was exposed to. The amount of time from the first story about the prisoner abuse wa s broadcasted, May 1, 2005 (Television News Archive: Vanderbilt University: 2000), until th e day the data used in this thesis was collected, May 5-6, 2005, amounts to a total of a bout five days. Within those five days,

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4 nearly every media source in the United St ates spent some amount of time covering the Iraqi prisoner abuse story. Many television ne ws broadcasts aired se veral stories about it each day. To say the least, media coverage of the Iraqi prisoner abuse was widespread between May 1-5, 2005. While there was no doubt that these incidents occurred, some news reports portrayed the government as c ondoning the abuse and insisting that these incidents were isolated, while still others portrayed the government as non-reactive, unapologetic, and declaring that these incide nts were widespread. Different media sources may have had differing effects, but ther e is little doubt that this knowledge had at least some effect on the American public.

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5 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Let us further examine the terminology in th is literature: the state, legitimacy (and even more importantly, the state’s legitimate actions), war crimes, and recreancy. It is important to understand the ambiguities surround ing these terms and what roles they play in sculpting the opinions of the average American with respect to the Iraqi prisoner abuse. Furthermore, a state’s legitimacy must be taken in context of the society in which it resides and its surrounding states; therefore economy, politics, and international relations must also be considered. Elements of civil society are not only interconnected, but they are also interlinked with the civilians that reside in it. This argument will also prove vital in the explan ation of public opinion. For this thesis, “the state” is conceptualiz ed as a “public power,” or in other words, an institution equipped with the ability to use force. Therefore, state “actors” are the personnel that organize such an institution a nd in turn possess the cap ability of enforcing that power (Ward and Green, 2000: 76). Legitimate actions committed by the personnel do not necessarily have to meet norms and or beliefs and are therefore not subject to the label of “evil or unjust.” In other words, an act that is deviant is not necessarily illegitimate. “Moreover, the concept of leg itimacy is, as we shall see, so beset with ambiguities and questions of degree that it can hardly be used to define anything,” (Ward and Green, 2000: 78). This same notion can be extended to that of a war crime. As defined by Article 6 of the 1945 Charter of the International Military Tr ibunal, war crimes are,

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6 …namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civili an population of or in occupied territory [ sic ], murder or illtreatment of prisoners of wa r or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruc tion of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity. (Dinstein, 1996: 1) Also included in war crimes are employm ent of poisoned weapons or the improper use of flags of truce (Dinstein, 1996: 3). As stated by the definition, such evil or unjust acts may be considered legitimate when they are catalyzed by military necessity It is important then to understand the ambiguity surrounding the military necessity exception. The “Double Effect” rule was instated to explain further the military necessity exception, but it does more than bring up uncer tainty; it is a possibl e explanation as why individual soldiers may be more inclined to commit war crimes. As illustrated above, international laws forbid ‘unnecessary human suffering’ but allow for military action that will assist in the victory of war. Accordi ng to this rule, attacking non-combatants is generally prohibited. However, if these same non-combatants are in the path of a military target, military action is then permitted. U nder these circumstances, their deaths are considered collateral damage. According to Walzer, “[t]he Double Effect is a way of reconciling the absolute prohibi tion against attacking non-combat ants with the legitimate conduct of military activity” (Walzer, 1979: 153). The argument is laid out as follows: 1. The act is good in itself or at leas t indifferent, which means, for our purposes, that it is a legitimate act of war. 2. The direct effect is morally acceptable-the destruction of military supplies, for example, or the kill ing of enemy soldiers. 3. The intention of the actor is good, that is, he aims only at the acceptable effect; the evil effect is not one of his ends, nor is it a means to his ends. 4. The good effect is sufficiently good to compensate for allowing the evil effect; it must be justifiable unde r Sidgwick’s proportionality rule.

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7 A rule of thumb is that the amount of for ce used should not be disproportionate to the object to be achieved. The vagueness of the definitions of legitimacy and war crimes continues to present a problem fo r both direct participants and the citizens of that society. Some even argue that the purpose of the laws of war is to legitimize war crimes rather than limit them (Normand and Jochnick, 1994: 388). While soldiers may be required to memorize these rules and others, such as how to treat a prisoner of war, when they are in boot camp, applicability in pr esent day Iraq may be questionable due to uncertainty surrounding the situation. This issu e will be readdressed this later on. The most troubling of the key terms in this thesis is recreancy because unlike the state, legitimacy, and war crimes, recreancy is a relatively new te rm and has therefore been less researched. Again, Freudenburg de fines recreancy as, “. . the failure of institutional actors to carry out their responsibilities with the degree of vigor necessary to merit the societal trust they enjoy” (1993: 909). Freudenbur g coined this phrase because he felt that the English language did not ha ve a phrase that encompassed all of the elements (credibility, trustworthiness, res ponsibility, and behavior) that make up his newly constructed term. Freudenburg states that one who is recreant is not necessarily an “evil-doer”; rather, someone who is recr eant can fail in trust, competence, or responsibility and can be used at either the individual or th e collective level (1993, 916). As the nation has become more depe ndent on its corporate and governmental institutions, the risk of recreancy has incr eased. Freudenburg’s study supports the fact that American citizens recognize this fact a nd have become more aware of the different types of risks that they face today. In his study, the recreancy perspective explains roughly three times as much variance in conc ern than socio-demographic and ideological

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8 variables combined. While Fre udenburg concentrated his stu dy on facilities that handled nuclear waste, he argues that his results may be applicable to other institutions (Freudenburg, 1993: 915-817). If the military fail s to carry out its responsibilities in a manner that is congruent with the norms of the average American, it may be deemed as a recreant institution. Unlike the Freudenburg stu dy, this thesis contains data on the sense people have of whether actions do or do not de serve trust. Therefore, not only will this newly adapted term assist in understanding how recreant institutions may influence the public’s opinions, but this thes is may then, in turn, be an advancement on previous research. In this piece, it is important to unde rstand how legitimacy and recreancy are interrelated. While both of these terms a ddress the lawful obedience to acceptable standards by the institutions and the personnel that enforce them, recreancy refers more to the institution itself as legitimacy more so addresses the actions of these institutions. While they are similar, th ey are not the same thing. Let us return to legitimacy and further ex amine how it relates to the civil society and its influential elements; mainly the economy, politics, and the media. Civil society is defined by Adamson (1987-1988: 320) as “the space between large-scale bureaucratic structures of state and economy on the one hand and the private sphere of family, friendship, personality, and intimacy on the ot her.” Those occupying this space are then further defined as “organizations which genera te opinions and goals w ith which they seek not only to influence public opinions and policies within existing structures and rules, but sometimes also to alter the structure and rules themselves” (19871988: 321 italics not in original). Civil society and the economy have an intimate interdependency; the economy

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9 relies on the civil society as much as the ci vil society depends on th e economy. The role of politics is then to govern civil soci ety and the economy and therefore possess a stronghold on the entire relationshi p, including public opinion. How does the media affect all of these el ements? Some points to how the media influences peoples’ opinions about the econom y and politics, while others further argue that the media is influenced by politics. Un fortunately over time the media has become more influenced by these same elements that it is supposed to be the most objective about. In the article “The Decline of Mass Me dia,” Richard Maisel ( 1973) argues that the only way to examine our institutions is in retrospect and that specialized media is becoming increasingly important due to the lack of reliability on the mass media. Since the media regulate to a large extent the pub lic’s knowledge about world events, the media also has the capability of influencing public opinion. The media, especially television networks, are limited to the number of st ories aired and breadth of information surrounding those select cases. In turn, the stories that a give n network chooses to air are highly influential on public opinion and the media has made no secret of the Iraqi prisoner abuse. According to Benjamin Page, mass media indi rectly influences be liefs and politics. He points out how some televisi on stations are more liberal/c onservative than others and communications specialists agree that it is near ly impossible to have a value-free report. While they are hesitant about saying that journalists have a political agenda per se, it is clear that some views are consistent with some political heads and agendas. Because government sources are used in many of the cases in which political views are being explored, Page argues that it is only natural that some reports will be skewed. While few

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10 studies have been done as to whether it is th e journalists themselves who may be biased or whether it is the owners or managers of the media source, it is clear that the media is subjective (Page, 1996: 20-24). Page agrees with Maisel a nd points out that there is much research that indicates that media bias has a large effect on citizen s, policy makers, and public opinion. The impact of media as political actors relies heavily u pon how persuasive power is distributed among them and how political stands are distributed among media outlets. In other words, it is more influential if all medi a outlets are sending out the same news then when different ideas are sent out from different media sources. As with any other type of socialization, indivi duals are taught from an early age to obey and respect the laws and those that enfor ce the laws of the state. In turn, children learn to internalize these rules as morals. Wh en this fails, authorities look to legitimacy to be their strong hold in the public’s opinion. For example, some citizens may not feel that a law such as the legalization of aborti on is morally correct, but most citizens will defer to those laws and those that enforce them despite the moral conflict (Tyler and Darley, 2000: 722). For example, those individu als that feel that ab ortion is similar to murder and are strongly opposed to abortions, they will resist these rules (Tyler and Darley, 2000: 729). Robinson and Darley (1995: 201) agree that perceptions of moral ity affect citizen compliance. They argue that citizens are much more likely to obey rules and laws that they feel are morally correct and therefore mo re likely to defer to authority figures who enforce those laws than if the laws go agains t their own social values. When citizens are positively motivated to obey authority, they ar e much more willing to comply than when

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11 presented with threat or force. On the same note, if a citizen does not believe that the authority figure possesses the same moral values or that the laws that he or she enforces are not morally correct, the citizen may also believe that author ity figure to be illegitimate. In other words, if the Ameri can people feel that the military or the state actors are morally incorrect with respect to their actions, they will no longer trust them and/or deem them as recreant and vice versa. Once legitimacy has been established, one way authorities may maintain legitimacy is by using fairness of procedures and ethi cs (Tyler and Darley, 2000: 723). If citizens feel that those in authority are being fair, they are more likely to obey them and vice versa. A poor personal experi ence with a legal authority can dismantle the credibility of that institution for that individua l. At the same time, when fe ar or the threat of violence is flourishing in a nation, the public may not consider some fairness of procedures and ethics to be as important or as compelling. Historical evidence of this fact is the containment of Japanese Americans during WWII. On December 7, 1941, Japanese aviators destroyed or damaged nineteen United States Navy ships and submarines, annihilated a number of planes and military facilities, and killed approximately 2,300 American citizens, an incident that is forever ingrained in the minds of Americans as the bombing of Pear l Harbor (Daniels, 1993: 22). Rumors of espionage by Japanese Americans spread panic among both the American citizens and politicians (although it was later revealed that these were fa lse allegations). Daniels further states that, “ . the press, the public, politicians, and some military officials began to clamor that something had to be done about the ‘Japs who were running around loose’” (Daniels, 1993: 27). This fear and distrust by both polit ical leaders and the public

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12 lead to the internment and abuse of thousands of Japanese Americans. Okihiro and Sly (1983: 66) have found that while the public originally were not in favor of the internment of Japanese Americans, a series of events by government officials a nd publicity from the media generated public support. In other wo rds, the American public felt that the internment and mistreatment of Japanese Americans during this time in history was legitimatized by the fear and uncertainty they experienced from the bombing of Pearl Harbor combined with the fact that governme nt officials were executing these actions. In the past, media did not illustrate imag es of Japanese Americans being abused that have been depicted to the American publ ic recently with regards to Iraqi prisoners. In a time when citizens were less critical of the American public, it was decades before the mistreatment of Japanese Americans wa s publicly recognized by Ronald Reagan. Since the 1970’s the American people have b een more critical of government actions. Now pictures and stories in the media depi cting soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners has brought these incidents to light in the in the minds of the American people. Gramsci understands people’s opinions and beliefs are not cut and dry; that power works in a much more subtle way. He argues that the governi ng power must make economic sacrifices for the subordinate group an d that this relationship is very unstable and can be turned very quickly (Gramsci, 1971: 57-80). There must be a give and take relationship of some kind, no matte r how superficial. He illust rates legitimacy as mostly an economic relationship between the classe s and speaks of such transactions as bargaining. Gramsci says that th e authorities merely make it a ppear as if their values and interests are the similar to thos e of the subordinates. For th is thesis, one can make sense of this relationship by saying that the state, or the military, offers the American public

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13 safety and security and in turn the public may be willing to ignore some of the less honorable on-goings at the Iraqi prison camps in order to achieve a sense of protection. The American public may then in turn feel that those in authority possess the same interests when in reality they do not. Acceptance from the international community is also important to both the average American and even more important to the gove rnment. To be excluded or shamed from this community can have detrimental effects on the economy and safety of the United States. As long as its dominance appears to serve universal interest s, they are able to maintain legitimacy within the international community. Both membership and material goods/trade are benefits to conforming to inte rnational rules and norms (Ward and Green, 2000: 84-85). The Iraqi prisoner abuse then has the potential of damaging this image both nationally and internat ionally. According to Risse a nd Sikkink, shaming is a way of persuading leaders that their behavior is unacceptable to other civilized communities (1999: 15). Later, Sullivan il lustrates how the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has been depicted to the international community as merely a fe w isolated incidences. He then argues that in actuality the problem is much more extensiv e than it is perceived to be. In accordance with both Risse and Sikkink’s argument supplem ented by Sullivan’s, it is possible (and even more importantly the public may think that it is possible) that the state may attempt to salvage its image in both the international community and in the minds of the American public by prosecuting a few individuals rather than accepting the responsibility for a much more widespread issue.

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14 An alternative view to Sullivan’s argument is that there simply is not enough evidence to incriminate other individuals. As stated above, America has not fully recovered from its decline in political trust from 1966-1975 (Cunningham, 2002: 520). Historically, both American and foreign soldie rs have not been strangers to crimes of obedience. Most Americans are able to recal l vivid images of incidents in Rwanda and the Vietnam War; the slaughter of innocen t women and children. One main issue inherent in war crimes and crimes of obedien ce is law enforcement and the attribution of responsibility in these cases. As with domestic crimin als, only a small number of individuals are actually found and punished. Overall, the entire judicial process is not very efficient (Ellis, 2001: 98). Literally thousands of war crimes were committed in Vietnam, but there were virtually no trials for them except that of the famous incident in which Lieutenant Calley ordered the massacre of 109 Vietnamese. Similarly, in Rwanda between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority, were killed and even more were ra ped or wounded by Hutus (the majority). Over 100,000 people were accused of participa ting in these atroc ities, but maybe a handful will actually go to trial (Steiner and Alston, 2000: 84-85). Unfortunately, limitations of the both local and the internati onal courts hinder the j udicial processing of these war crimes. In order to maintain le gitimacy, some individuals must be prosecuted for their actions. As mentioned previously, either these indi viduals are possibly scapegoats so that the state can maintain a positive public imag e, there simply is not enough evidence to make any further implications, or it may maintain that th e laws of war are unable to uphold strict liability. According to Levinson (1973: 257) for war crimes both mens rea

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15 and actus reus are necessary. Furthermore, “knowledge that a crime has been or is about to be committed is not sufficient to warra nt a conviction . ” (Levinson, 1973, 258). When it comes to superior officers’ knowledge even official documentation laced with signatures is insufficient as proof of knowledge unless it was initiated by them (Levinson, 1973: 259). Whether the blame is placed on the laws or those who make or interpret the laws, the fact is that a limited number of people are being pu nished for a mass of misconduct. With this in mind, it is clear that the need to establish culpabili ty exists. Kritz agrees with Ellis in that ther e is a “need to establish mech anisms of accountability . ” (Kritz, 1999: 172). The latest solution has been the conversio n of local courts to one international court that deals solely with war cr imes. In order for an international court to succeed, it must be willing to as sist with the enforcement of its laws and ideologies. While the Cold War had slowed the pr ocess of developing a more permanent international court, its reviva l in 1993 has been followed up by an agreement to draft and adopt a treaty establishing this permanent in ternational court in 1998. Skeptics argue that an international court is a waste of resources and will again have little deterrent effect, but more than 100 countries were willing to make the leap forwar d. While the United States has originally signed the treaty inst ating the International Criminal Court (ICC), since then President Bush unsigned it. By unsigning this treaty, the United States may have lost legitimacy in the international community as well as in the minds of the American people. When establishing responsibility, not onl y do the individual soldiers, superior officers, and the “state” have to be examined, but the circumstances in which soldiers

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16 commit these atrocities must also be unde rstood. The question of other extenuating circumstances that might drive upstanding soldiers to treat Iraqi prisoners of war in such a manner or maybe even allow superior officers turn their head in these instances must be addressed. Most Americans know the “story” as follo ws: a handful of Br itish soldiers who were on the night shift became war criminal s when they humiliated and abused Iraqi prisoners. These war criminals are usually found to be rarities in an honored military command; bad apples. The identified unlawful soldiers have been and continue to be tried in a court that rejects such atrocities But, according to two volumes, "The Abu Ghraib Investigations,'' by a former Newsweek editor, Steven Strasser, and ''Torture and Truth,'' by a New York Review of Books cont ributor, Mark Danner, these incidents are far from few and isolated events. These books “ . are almost numbingly exhaustive in their cataloging of specific mistakes, incident s and responsibilities” (Sullivan, 2005: 8). Sullivan reports that in actuality these at rocities amount to hundreds of thousands of events. According to Cunningham, “[w]hen public perceptions of the reality don’t mesh with the stated ideology, for growing sect ors of the population, c onflict and legitimation problems intensify” (2002: 518). In several interviews with soldiers, the treatment of the guards by the prisoners has been revealed. American and British soldiers have informed the public that practically on a day-to-day basis, Iraqi pris oners throw their feces and urin e at the American and British soldiers who guard them. Iraqi prisoners al legedly yell obscenities at the military police officers and threaten to take the lives of soldiers’ families upon release. Public

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17 knowledge of these events may also play a big role in influenc ing Americans’ public opinion about the Iraqi abuse. The state of mind of the average American must not be neglected when examining their opinions. As stated previously, fairne ss is less of an issue when the threat of violence exists; the same threat can also infl uence political and social change. Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the attacks on September 11th, 2001 and the threat of further violence post-9/11 may have been a substantial enough strain for a change in opinions to take place. Nieb erg states that “…when the threat and fear come near or cross the threshold, a general tendency toward non-enforcement of the law sets in. The status quo interests begin to share with the disaffected groups a desire to evade and to change the law” (Nieberg, 1962: 808). This st atement can speak for an attitudinal change in both the soldiers and the American public. Finally, it is important to readdress military necessity and its role in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. If both the soldiers and th e American public are persuaded that the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners is of military necessity, then the government will not only be able to maintain legitimacy, but Americans may not be as upset or angry than they may otherwise be. On the other hand, even though such military conduct may be deemed necessary, it may not merit the trust that th e Bush Administration or the armed forces enjoy. In Sullivan’s piece, he quotes Pres ident Bush saying “As a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military n ecessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva” (2005: 8).

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18 Furthermore, Assistant Attorn ey General Jay S. Bybee argues that the treatment of the Iraqi prisoners is not torture. He says that the president was in his legal rights to allow the military to inflict “cruel, inhuma n or degrading” treatment on the prisoners without it being labeled the strict definition of torture. In order to be labeled as torture, Bybee says that “the abuser must be inflicti ng pain ‘of such a high le vel of intensity that the pain is difficult for the subject to endure’” (Sullivan, 2005: 8). Also previously mentioned was how soldie rs are required to me morize how to treat prisoners of war. At some point during boot camp, each soldier rece ives training on the human treatment of prisoners of war. Any prisoner, whether combatant or noncombatant, is to receive proper and humane treatment. In other words, torture is prohibited and punishable by court-martial. Th ere is no question that the actions of the soldiers illustrated in th e photographs publicized by the media are illegal, but their actions may be considered less questionable if military necessity requires it. Under these circumstances, the abuse may even be consid ered self-defense wh ere the treatment is necessary to extract information from the cap tives in order to prev ent further attacks on American civilians and ally so ldiers. Whether or not the a ccused soldiers’ actions are in themselves legitimate is of no consequence in this thesis if the American public believes their actions to be legitimate. Conflicting views on what constitutes torture, coupled with vague instructions from government officials, may lead to confusion about limitations on treatment of the enemy. Eric Schmitt, a reporter for the New York Times references this in hi s article titled “3 in 82nd Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners was Routine.” In this article, Schmitt quotes

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19 Captain Fishback of the U.S. Army from a le tter he wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 16, 2005 stating: Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my leadership about what cons titutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees. I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, strippi ng, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment. (2005: 1) If military and political actors are unable to agree on what is military necessity, what is humane treatment, and what is a pris oner of war, how will the civilian population be able to make these distinctions.

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20 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Data In order to test the legitimacy and recreancy franks, data from the ABC News/Washington Post Iraq Abuse Poll (May of 2004) was used. The population sampled for this survey included responde nts aged 18 years and older living in households with telephones in th e continental United States (48 states). The sample was selected using a systematic random sampling from which a representative sample of 802 individuals was drawn. The interviewers instituted a ra ndom-digit dialing method to ensure the inclusion of bo th listed and non-listed telephon e numbers. Within the household, the respondent selected was the adult residing in the household who most recently had a birthday and was home at the time of the interview. Furthermore, to compensate for the fact that women tend to be easier to reach, the interviewers were asked to speak to the male household member 75 percent of the time and the female 25 percent of the time. If the selected sex was unavailable, the interviewer asked to speak with the person of the other sex who la st had a birthday. Among the information collected included basic demographic inform ation (sex, age, ethnicity, education, and political party affiliation) and views pertaining to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Hypotheses The main question that this thesis seeks to answer is: what factors explain Americans’ opinions on who is responsible for the Iraqi pr isoner abuse ? After the review of the literatu re, the hypothesis is that whether or not Americans see the Bush

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21 Administration’s actions as legitimate and whether or not it is seen as a recreant institution will in fact affect these opinions In other words, those individuals who disapprove of both the war itsel f and the handling of the Iraqi prisoner abuse by the Bush Administration will be more li kely to place the responsibility of the abuse on the higher ranking soldiers rather than the individual sold ier and vice versa. Also, those respondents who think that President Bush should apologi ze to Iraq for the prisoner abuse and who do not feel that the war is worth fighting will have higher levels of concern/anger and will be more likely to feel that the abuse is a big deal. The literature also supports the idea that media affects public opinion. One might suspect that those who are exposed to, or expos e themselves to, more media pertaining to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners will have stronge r negative feelings about it and the Bush Administration. In other words, respondents more exposed to the media will be more likely to think that Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents. Furthermore, the hypothesis is that this same individual will be more likely to see the Bush Administration as a recreant institution and vice versa. If the reverse were to occur, one might imagine, as Maisel (1973) points out, that the media may be politically fueled. Also, it is hypothesized that individuals exposed to more media will be more likely to feel that the apparent abuse of the Iraqi prisone rs is more widespread rather than being restricted to merely a few incidents. Fina lly, those individuals who are exposed to more media will have stronger feelings of concern/anger and more likely to indicate that the incidents are a big deal. Dependent Variables The dependent variables of this thesis incl ude Americans’ opinions on the extent of the abuse, whether individual soldiers or higher-ranking officers s hould be responsible

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22 for the abuse, and personal reactions to the ab use itself. Opinions on the extent of abuse is operationalized by question number seven fr om the survey; “Do you think the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers represents a few is olated incidents, or do you think it’s more widespread than that?” Responses to question number nine, “(Do you think higher-level military officers should be punished for allowing a breakdown in training and discipline th at let this happen), or (do you th ink these incidents are only the responsibility of the individua l soldiers involved)?” will be used to examine the dependent variable of whether individual so ldiers or higher-ranking officers should be responsible for the abuse. I will also use this variable as an indepe ndent variable in order to predict concern/anger and whether the res pondent felt the incidents were a big deal. Finally, personal reactions to the abuse itsel f are directly examined by the questions thirteen and fourteen respec tively “What’s your own persona l reaction to the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners?”, “D o you feel that these incidents are (not a big deal, because this kind of thing happens in a war situation) or do you think that they are (a big deal, because this kind of abuse is unacceptable no matter the situation)?”, and question eight, “Do you think the soldiers involved should or should not be charged with a crime?” For these questions, the words in the parentheses were reversed for every other respondent to eliminate leading the individual interviewed. In order to analyze the effects on these va riables, they were then recoded into dummy variables. For question number seven the response, “Abuse is more widespread” was recoded from 2 to 0, the response “Represe nts a few isolated incidents” retained its value of “1” and all other responses incl uding “don’t know/no opinion” were labeled as “missing.” For the results section, question se ven is labeled “Widespread/Isolated.” The

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23 responses to question nine were transformed from three responses (officer’s should be punished for breakdown, responsibi lity of individual soldier, and neither) into two. This was done in order to isolate what influences opinions about whether officers should be punished. Thus, “Officers should be punished for breakdown” retained the value of 1, “Responsibility of individual soldiers” and “Ne ither” responses were assigned a value of 0, and all other responses incl uding “don’t know/no opinion” we re labeled as “missing.” For the results section, question nine is labe led “Officers.” For question eight, “Do you think the soldiers involved should or should not be charged with a crime?,” the response “should” retained the value of 1 but wa s relabeled as “charged,” “should not” was reassigned the value of 0 and relabeled as “ no charge,” and all othe r responses including “don’t know/no opinion” were labeled as “s ystem missing.” For the results section, question eight is labeled “Crime.” The only alteration made for the responses to question thirteen was that “don’t k now/no opinion” and all other responses were labeled as “system missing.” Therefore, all other res ponses (Not concerned=1, Concerned but not upset=2, Upset but not angry=3, a nd Angry=4) all retained thei r original values. For the results section, question thirteen is labele d “Concern/Anger.” Responses to question fourteen was recoded so that “Not a big deal, happens in war” took on a value of 0 and “Big deal, abuse is unacceptable” took on th e value of 1. Again, all other responses including “don’t know/no opinion” were recoded as “system missing.” For the results section, question fourteen is labeled “Big Deal.” Independent Variables The independent variables for this thesis wi ll include feelings of (il)legitimacy of state actors and feelings about whether the Bush Administra tion is recreant, and exposure to media. A few questions were isolated as indicators of feelings about legitimacy and

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24 recreancy: question one; “All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not? and question six; “Do you think Bush should or should not apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents?” Later in the analysis, “Bush apologize” will be used as a dependent variable when measuring the effect, if any, exposure to media will have on feelings of recreancy and legitimacy. Exposure to medi a will be operationa lized by the question number four from the questionnaire; “How closely have you been following news reports about the apparent abuse of some Iraqi prisoners by Americ an soldiers in Iraq – very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, not too closely, or not closely at all?” The independent variables have also been recoded for analysis. For question one, “Yes worth fighting for” responses retained their original value of 1, while “No, not worth fighting” responses were assigned the va lue of 0. Other responses including “don’t know/no opinion” responses were labeled as “system missing.” For the results section, question one is labeled “War Worth Fighti ng.” For question six, response “should apologize” retained the value of 1 and was relabeled as “yes,” “should not apologize” was reassigned the value of 0 and were re labeled as “no,” and all other responses including “don’t know/no opinion” were labeled as “system missing.” For the results section, question six is labeled “Bush Apologi ze.” Question four, “How closely have you been following the news reports about the ap parent abuse of some Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq – very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not closely at all?,” was not recoded into a “ dummy variable” like questions one, six, and eight. The original dataset had “very closely” labeled as one, “somewhat closely” labeled as two, “not too closely” labeled as three, and “not closel y at all” labeled as four. This

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25 coding was reversed to indicate “very closel y” labeled as four, “somewhat closely” labeled as three, “not too closely” labeled as two, and “not closely at all” labeled as 1. The last alteration made to this response was the re-labeling of the “don’t know/no opinion” responses to “system missing.” For th e results section, question four is labeled “Exposure to Media.” Control Variables Other factors that may influence such opini ons and must be controlled for due to expected influences. In order to minimi ze spurious relationships, race, age, sex, education, and political affiliation have been designated as control variables. For political affiliation, 37.8% were Democrats, 30.9% were Republicans, and 31.3% were independents. In the dataset, race was or iginally broken down into categories: Black, White, Black-Hispanic, White-Hispanic, Hispan ic (no race given), Asian, and Other. For the purposes of this thesis, race was transformed into a dichotomous variable, White and non-White, in which all categories other than white were grouped together. For this variable, 27.7% of the respondents were non-White and 72.3% were White. For sex, 48.3% of the respondents identified themselves as male while 51.7% identified themselves as female. The raw age of the re spondents ranged from 18-94 with a mean of 45.23 and a standard deviation of 17.021. For this thesis age was placed in five categories and were coded as follows; 1=18-29 (21.7%), 2=30-39 (19.1%), 3=40-49 (20.6%),4=50-64 (23.1%), and 5=65+ (16.1%). Education was broken down into three categories: less than high school, graduated high school, and some college +. Overall, 16% had less than a high school educati on, 32% graduated high school, and 52% had some college or more. Again, the hypothesi s is that women, Bl acks, Democrats, and better-educated Americans will be more likely to be angry about the Iraqi prisoner abuse

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26 than the men, Whites, Republicans, and less-educated Americans because the former demographic group is usually more liberal than the latter. Also, better-educated people are more likely to keep up with current events and be exposed to varied media sources. As for age, while it is an important cont rol factor, its trend is less predictable. Analytic Plan First, legitimacy and recreancy will be used to predict who the American public thinks is responsible for the Iraqi prisoner abuse. Legitimacy and recreancy will be the independent variables, while th e dependent variable will be public opinion. Next, this thesis will explore the effect s of media on negative feeli ngs toward both prisoner abuse and the Bush Administration, and whether or not the prisoner abuse was widespread or isolated. For this analysis, exposure to media will be th e independent variable while feelings toward prisoner abuse, whether Bu sh should or should not apologize, and feelings about and whether or not the prisone r abuse was widespread or isolated will be the dependent variables. In both cases, the control variables will be race, age, sex, education, and political affiliation.

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27 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The first table, Frequencies for Control Vari ables, displays the percents within each category for the control variables. The second table, Descriptive Stat istics, displays the mean and standard deviations for the dependent and independent variables. The major findings for Table 3 are that the responses to question six are significantly related to the responses to question thirt een. Respondents who think Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these in cidents also have st ronger feelings of anger about the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners. This mode l also illustrates that women are more concerned than men, Whites are more concerned then non-Whites, bettereducated people are more concerned then the less educated people, and older people are more concerned then younger people. Whethe r or not respondents thought the war with Iraq was worth fighting for did not significantly affect levels of concern as predicted. One explanation for the variance between men and women is that women tend to internalize incidences more so than men. Ov erall, this model explains 23.9% of the variance in Concern/Anger. Table 4 also somewhat illustrates an e xpected outcome. Respondents who think Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents and the War is worth fighting also think that these incidents are a big deal and that abuse is unacceptable. Sex, race, party id, and age did not significantly predict the outcome variable; only education showed a significant effect. The education eff ect is as expected; the more educated the

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28 individual, the more likely they will think that the incidents are a bid deal and that abuse is unacceptable. The Nagelkerke R-square for this model is .258. Table 5 illustrates some unexpected result s. According to the model, media does not significantly influence whet her the respondent thinks that the abuse represents a few isolated incidents or if they think it is more widespread. These conclusions may be a result of the type of media the respondents were exposed to. Race, age, and education did have significant effects in this model. White, better-educated, and older respondents were more likely to think these were more isolated incidents then their non-White, the less educated, younger counterparts. The Nage lkerke R-square for this model is .173. Table 6 illustrates the association that wh ether or not a respon dent thinks Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people is sign ificantly related to whether or not the respondent thought the soldiers involved should be charged with a crime. In other words, respondents who think Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents are more likely to think that soldiers involved shoul d be charged with a crime. In this model, the “War Worth Fighting” is not a significant variable and the only c ontrol variable that was statistically significant was race; White respondents are more likely to think that soldiers involved should be charged with a crime. The Nagelkerke R-square is .163 for this model. Yet again, Table 7 illustrates expected re sults; responses to “War Worth Fighting” and “Bush Apologize” are significantly relate d to responses to “Officers”. Respondents who indicated that they thought Bush shoul d apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents were more likely to indicate that officers should be punished for the breakdown. Respondents who indicated that the Iraq war was not worth fighting were also more

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29 likely to indicate that officers should be punished for the breakdown. This finding supports the recreancy literature and ties the legitimacy argu ment to recreancy. The table also indicates that age and e ducation are statistically significant in the model; older and better-educated respondents are more likely to indicate that officers should be punished for the breakdown. The Nagelkerke R-square for this model is .150. For the proceeding two models, “Officer” is used as an independent variable rather than a dependent variable in order to predic t feelings of concern/anger and whether the respondent thinks the abuse is a big deal or not. Table 8 indicates that respondents who indicated that the breakdown in training and di scipline on the officers’ part allowed the abuse to occur have stronger feelings of concern and anger. Better-educated and nonWhite respondents were also more likely to indicate stronger feeli ngs of concern/anger about the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners. The R-square for this model is .143. Table 9 has similar results; respondents that think higher-level military officers should be punished for allowing a breakdown in training and disciplin e that let the abuse occur also indicated that they felt the inci dents were a “big deal” and that abuse is unacceptable. This model did not indicate a ny statistical significance among the control variables previously seen in other models. While the media did not have an effect on whether or not Americans felt that the incidents were isolated or widespread, as indicated in Table 5, Table 10 shows that the media does have an effect on Americans’ person al reaction. Respondents with higher levels of exposure to the media were more likel y to have stronger feelings of concern and anger. This table also indi cates that both sex and educati on of the respondent had an

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30 effect as well. For this m odel, women had stronger feelin gs of concern and anger than men, and higher education correlated with highe r levels of concern and anger as well. Table 11 illustrates that me dia did not have a statistically significant effect on whether the Bush Administration should apologiz e to the Iraqi people for these incidents. These findings are contrary to the expected findings. Table 1: Frequencies for Control Variables Variable Valid Percents Age 18-29=21.1, 30-39=19.1, 40-49=20.6, 50-64=23.1, 65+=16.1 Sex F=51.7, M=48.3 Race W=72.3, Non=27.7 Education
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31 Table 3: Multiple Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with Concern/Anger Variable B SE Beta Sex -.290 .066* -.155 Race .175 .076* .083 Age .007 .024* .108 Education .175 .045* .108 Party ID .002 .041 .020 War Worth Fighting -.125 .069 -.067 Bush Apologize .763 .070* .392 R-Squared: .239, N=631 *P<.05 Table 4: Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with Big Deal Variable B SE EXP (B) Sex -.135 .201 .503 Party ID -.143 .127 .867 Race -.011 .237 .989 Age -.083 .074 .920 Education .347 .135 1.415 Bush Apologize 1.883 .202* 6.571 War Worth Fighting -.480 .211* .619 Nagelkerke R-Squared: .264, N=635 *P<.05 Table 5: Logistic Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Widespread/Isolated Variable B SE EXP (B) Sex .096 .179 1.100 Party ID .194 .109 .075 Race .747 .196* 2.110 Age .297 .069* 1.346 Education .814 .121* 2.257 Exposure to Media .165 .098 1.179 Nagelkerke R-Squared= .173, N=673 *P<.05

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32 Table 6: Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with Predicting Crime Variable B SE EXP (B) Sex .051 .199 1.234 Party ID .011 .123 1.052 Race .663 .221* 1.940 Age .046 .073 1.047 Education .130 .137 1.138 Bush Apologize 1.593 .211* 4.918 War Worth Fighting .210 .214 1.234 Nagelkerke R-Squared= .161, N=608 *P<.05 Table 7: Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with Officers Variable B SE Exp (B) Race -.165 .202 .848 Age .228 .065* 1.256 Sex .015 .177 1.015 Education .449 .121* 1.567 Party ID -.149 .109 .862 War Worth Fighting -.373 .183* .689 Bush Apologize 1.019 .185* 2.770 Nagelkerke R-Squared= .150, N=639 *P<.05 Table 8: Multiple Regression: Officers Associated with Concern/Anger Variable B SE Beta Race .009 .077 .045 Age .005 .025 .072 Sex -.314 .068* -.168 Education .146 .046* .116 Party ID .003 .041 .032 Officers .517 .069* .273 R-Squared: .143, N=676 *P<.05

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33 Table 9: Logistic Regression: O fficers Associated with Big Deal Variable B SE EXP (B) Race -.155 .210 .857 Age -.086 .068 .918 Sex -.285 -.182 .752 Education .188 .119 1.206 Political ID -.155 .111 .857 Officers 1.019 .183* 2.771 Nagelkerke R-Squared: .092, N=674 *P<.05 Table 10: Multiple Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Concern/Anger Variable B SE Beta Exposure to Media -.169 .038* -.165 Sex -.323 .068* -.174 Education .190 .046* .151 Party ID .001 .041 .010 Race .143 .078 .068 Age .004 .026 .064 R-squared: .097, N=707 *P<.05 Table 11: Logistic Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Bush Apologize Variable B SE EXP (B) Exposure to Media -.177 .095 .838 Sex -.230 .165 .795 Education .138 .112 1.148 Party ID -.080 .100 .923 Race -.418 .195* .658 Age -.065 .062 .937 Nagelkerke R-squared: .029, N=677 *P<.05

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34 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS The purpose of this study is to explore possible explanations of American public opinion on who is responsible for the Iraqi pris oner abuse scandal. More specifically, this thesis examines whether the legitimacy and recreancy theoretical frameworks reviewed are supported. For this thesis, le gitimacy was examined in the context of whether individuals would respond to illegitimat e acts or actors with concern or anger. Furthermore, the more that these abusive acts are recurrent, the great er the reactions these acts invoke. An analysis of the data revealed several key findings regardin g media effects, the empirical test of the legitimacy and recreancy theoretical framework, and whether these frameworks have explanatory power when examining American public opinion on the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. One conclusion that can be drawn fr om this thesis is that the amount of exposure to media does not affect whether the respondent felt that the incidents were isolated or widespread, nor did it affect whethe r or not they thought President Bush should apologize to the Iraqi peop le. In other words, this thesis did not find support for the idea that media plays a ro le in the public’s opinion about whether the government is recreant. What was correlate d with media was the level of concern or anger the respondent felt about the abuse. Overall, this thesis shows support for bot h the legitimacy and recreancy theoretical frameworks. Furthermore, this study found th at these frameworks helped explain the American public opinion on both levels of concern and who is responsible for the

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35 incidents. In other words, recreant institutions and illegitimate acts and actors do explain some variance in feelings of concern/anger and whether or not th e respondent felt the abuse was a big deal. This statement is s upported by the results illustrated in Tables 4, 6, and 7. The questions from the survey operationalized as legitimacy and recreancy were significantly related to the quest ions operationalized as public opinion in most cases. In tables 3 and 6, “War Worth Fighting” was not significant. These results indicate that “Bush Apologize” was a better indicator for recreancy and legitimacy. Furthermore, these findings indicate support the re creancy and legitim acy literatures. The results and conclusions from this thesis will contribute to the field by adding to the already existing support for legitimacy and coupling it with the relatively new term recreancy, which has been limited in previous research. These conc lusions also add to the narrow body of knowledge related to war cr imes, specifically related to social and legal reactions. This thesis explores peopl e’s perceptions of even ts as opposed to the abuse itself and/or why it occu rred. This analysis sheds some light on the reactions of the American people and may promote further res earch and/or encourage future theoretical additions related to this topic. As with any other study, this thesis is not without lim itations. When exploring media effects, it is difficult to discern whethe r an increase in medi a exposure influenced levels of concern or whether more media e xposure was not a result from concern; as to say the respondent followed the story more cl osely due to concern and anger about the abuse. Another limitation on the analysis of me dia effects is the fact that the survey did not include a question about the type of me dia to which the respondents were exposed. As indicated previously by Mais el, media is more influential when all sources make the

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36 same argument. Different forms and sources of media may have ha d differing biases on the Iraqi prisoner abuse. Therefore, while the media may have played a role, it may be unclear as to the nature of the effects if di fferent sources had port rayed varying views. Another limitation of this st udy is that it used secondary data. While this survey asked legitimacy and recreancy related ques tions, it did not ask the respondents about legitimacy and recreancy directly. In a st udy where direct questions were asked about legitimacy and recreancy, weaker variables such as “War Worth Fighting” could be substituted. Also, this survey gives the re spondent the option to reply to the questions with a “don’t know or no opinion.” These res ponse options create problems with missing data. These responses may have influenced the results. As with the media effects, the time orde r issue with regard to the rest of the analysis may be another concern. In other wo rds, one might argue that it is not certain that media exposure and acts of legitimacy and recreancy occu rred before the feelings of concern and anger. The rebutta l to this position is the argumen t that the fact that all of the questions were asked at the same time is actually a strength of this study. Asking the respondents all of the survey quest ions at the same time further ensures that this thesis is examining the effects of legitimacy and recr eancy because the respondent has a reference point. Noted above, the survey did not a ddress the terms legitimacy and recreancy directly. Therefore this argument may somewhat subside previous limitations. Possible future research on this topic shoul d be directed at other samples. For example, do individuals from military families have different points of view than the general American public? Also, military pers onnel reactions may differ as well; they may afford more legitimacy to the governme nt and/or may be more likely to excuse

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37 similar incidences in a given situation. Th rough this analysis, sex and race differences were in many cases statistically significant. In past research, men have tended to be more punishment oriented than women and blacks tend to be more lib eral than whites. Future researchers should direct thei r attention at further expl oring these differences. Also, the Iraqi abuse was current during th e time this study was being conducted. As time progresses, opinions about the Iraq i prisoner abuse and th e government’s actions with respect to the war may change. As noted with respect to the in ternment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the American public opinion about these actions was dynamic for several decades after the war was over. While the Iraq war and WWII differ in many ways, the public reaction to the treatment of the “enemy” may be similar in that it may also be dynamic. As the media portrayal of the abuse dies down, public concern may also die down. On the contrary, public concer n/anger may build as the war stretches on. Furthermore, years after the conflict in Iraq is over Amer ican public opinion may be completely different. Therefore future resear chers should reanalyze th is at a later date. Lastly, future analysis of this topic should include a survey in which direct questions are assigned to the terms legitim acy and recreancy. While war crimes have occurred for thousands of years, the study of th is type of criminal is relatively recent. Present-day war waging presents both th e public and the government with new nontraditional technologies, state actors, and wa r tactics, thus constantly challenging researchers and policy makers alike to examine its many different effects.

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38 LIST OF REFERENCES Adamson, Walter L. (1987-1988). “Gramsci and the Politics of Civil Society.” Praxis International, 7 329-329. Beetham, David. (1991). The Legitimation of Power Basingstoke: Macmillan. Cunningham, Ken. (2002). “A Critical Theory of the “Rationality” of US Foreign Policy: The Case of the American War in Vietnam.” New Political Science 24 4: 509-523. Daniels, Roger. (1993). Prisoners Without trial: Japanese Americans in World War II New York: Hill and Wang. Danner, Mark. (2004). Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror New York: New York Review Books. Dinstein, Yoram. (1996). “The Distinction Between War Crimes and Crimes Against Peace.” In Dinstein, Yoram, and Mala Tabory (eds.). War Crimes in International Law, (pp. 1-18). The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Dinstein, Yoram, and Ma la Tabory (eds.). (1996). War Crimes in International Law The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Ellis, Anthony. (2001). “Introduction.” In Alexandar Jovic (ed.), War Crimes and Collective Wrongdoing: A Reader (pp. 1-24). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. Freudenburg, William R.. (1993). “Risk and R ecreancy: Weber, the Division of Labor, and the Rationality of Risk Perceptions.” Social Forces 71 4: 909-932. Gramsci, Antonio. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks London: Lawrence and Wishart. Grossman, Dave. (1995). On Killing Boston: Little, Brown and Company. Hesse, Carla, and Robert Post. (1999). Human Rights in Political Transitions: Gettysburg to Bosnia New York: Zone Books. Ignatieff, Michael. (2003). Empire Lite: Nation-Building in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan London: Vintage. Ignatieff, Michael. (2004). The Lesser Evil: Political Et hics in and Age of Terror Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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39 Ignatieff, Michael. (1997). The Warrior’s Honor: Et hnic War and the Modern Conscience New York: Metropolitan Books. Jovic, Alexander (ed.). (2001). War Crimes and Collective Wrongdoing: A Reader Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. Kelman, Herbert C., and V. Lee Hamilton. (1989). Crimes of Obedience. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Kittre, Nicholas. (1995). The War Against Authority: From the Crisis of Legitimacy to a New Social Contract Baltimore and London: John Hopkins University Press. Kritz, Keil J. (1999). “War Crimes Tria ls: Who Should Conduct Them-and How.” In Cooper, Belinda (ed.), War Crimes: The Legacy of the Nuremburg, (pp. 168-181). New York: TV Books. Levinson, Sanford. (1973). “Responsi bility for Crimes of War.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 3: 244-273. Maisel, Richard. (1973). “The Decline of Mass Media.” Public Opinion Quarterly 37 2: 159-171. Miller, Arthur and Stephen Borrelli. (1991) “Confidence in Government During the 1980’s.” Peace Review, 19 147-173. Nieburg, H. L.. (1962). “The Threat of Violence and Social Change.” The American Political Science review 56 4: 865-873. Normand, Roger, and Chris af Jochnick. (1994). “The Legitimation of Violence: A Critical Analysis of the Gulf War.” Harvard International Law, 35: 387-416. Okihiro, Gary Y. and Julie Sly. (1983). “T he Press, Japanese Americans, and the Concentration Camps.” America: History and Life 44, 1: 66-83. Page, Benjamin. (1996). “The Mass Media as Political Actors.” Political Science and Politics 29 1: 20-24. Risse, Thomas, and Kathryn Sikkink. (1999). “T he Socialization of International Norms and Domestic Practices: Introduction.” In Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink (eds.), The Power of Human Rights Norms and Domestic Change, (pp. 1-38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Roberts, Adam. (1997). “Land Warfare: From Hague to Nuremburg.” In Michael Howard, George J. Andreopoulos, and Mark R. Shulman (eds.), The Laws of War: Constraints on Warfare in the Western World (pp. 118-132). New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

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40 Robinson, Paul H. and John M. Darley. (1995). Justice, Liability, and Blame: Community Views and the Criminal Law Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Roseanne, Shabtai. (1996). “War Crimes and State Responsibility.” In Dinstein, Yoram, and Mala Tabory (eds.). War Crimes in International Law, (pp. 65-106). The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Schmitt, Eric. (2005, September 24). 3 in 82nd Airborne Say Beati ng Iraqi Prisoners Was Routine. The New York Times p. A1. Sidgwick, Henry. (1891). The Elements of Politics London: MacMillian Publishers. Steiner, Henry J., and Philip Alston. (2000). International Human Rights in Context: Law Politics Morals New York: Oxford University Press Inc. Strasser, Steven (ed.). (2004). The Abu Ghraib Investigations: the Official Report of the Independent Panel and Pentagon the Shocking Prisoner Abuse in Iraq Public Affairs Publishers. Sullivan, Andrew. (2005, January 23). Atrocities in Plain Sight. The New York Times : Book Review pp. 1, 8-11. Television News Archive: Vanderbilt University. (2000, October 31). TV News Search: The Database of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive Retrieved October 31, 2005 from http://tvnews.vanderbi lt.edu/TVN-processquery.pl. Tucker, Robert W. (2004). “The Sources of American Legitimacy.” Foreign Affairs 83 6: 18-23. Tyler, Tom R., and John M. Darley. (2000). “Building a Law-Abiding Society: taking Public Views About Morality and the Legitimacy of Legal Authorities Into Account When Formulating Substantive Law.” Hofstra Law Review 28 707-739. Walzer, Michael. (1979). Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers. Ward, Tony, and Penny Green. (2000). “Legi timacy, Civil Society, and State Crime.” Social Justice 27, 4: 76-93. Zeldich, Morris. (2001). “Process of Leg itimation: Recent Developments and New Directions.” Social Psychology Quarterly 64 1: 4-17.

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41 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Rachel Taylor was born on January 11th, 1982, in North Bergen, New Jersey. After growing up in Mahwah, New Jersey, she atte nded the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and criminology/criminal justice in 2004. She moved to Gainesvi lle to enter the graduate program in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society and the University of Florida in the fall of 2004 wher e she earned her Master of Ar ts degree in criminology in 2005.


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AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION OF IRAQI PRISONER ABUSE: AN EMPIRICAL
TEST OF THE LEGITIMACY AND RECREANCY THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS















By

RACHEL L. TAYLOR


A THESIS TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005





























Copyright 2005

by

Rachel L. Taylor















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would first like to give my thanks to my thesis committee, Dr. Alex Piquero, Dr.

Jeffrey S. Adler, and Dr. Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, for all of their time, patience, and

commitment to my work. While each committee member added insightful and unique

contributions to this thesis, Dr. Piquero helped inspire this thesis; without his guidance it

would not have come to be.

I would also like to thank my fellow graduate students in the Department of

Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of Florida for their assistance. I would

like to give a special thanks to those who went above and beyond their student role in

order to facilitate the completion of this thesis: Kate Fox for keeping me sane, and both

Matt Nobles, my student mentor, and Wesley Jennings for their vast statistical

knowledge.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Meyer

Kestnbaum, Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, for

inspiring me to study war crimes, encouraging me to pursue progressively higher

education, strengthening my confidence in my work, and for his sheer commitment to all

of my academic and non-academic achievements.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... ................................................................................... iii

L IST O F TA B L E S ............................................ .............................................. v

ABSTRACT .............. .......................................... vi

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ......................................................................... .... .. ........

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ............................................................ ............. 5

3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ............................................................................. ................... 20

D a ta ................................................................................2 0
H ypotheses ................................................. 20
D ep en d ent V ariab les........... .... .............................................................. ...... .. ....2 1
In dep en dent V ariab les ......................................................................... .................. 2 3
C o n tro l V ariab les ......... .................................................................................. ......... 2 5
A nalytic P lan .................................................................. 26

4 R E S U L T S .............................................................................2 7

5 DISCU SSION AND CON CLU SION S ............................................. ....................34

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ...................................... .................................... ....................38

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ...................................................................... ..................41
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1 Frequencies for Control V ariables ........................................ ....................... 30

2 D escrip tiv e S statistics ..................................................................... .....................3 0

3 Multiple Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with
Concern/Anger .................................... .............................. .........31

4 Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with
B ig D eal ............................................................... ..... ..... ......... 31

5 Logistic Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Widespread/Isolated....31

6 Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting Associated with Crime.......................32

7 Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting Associated with Officers ...................32

8 Multiple Regression: Officers Associated with Concern/Anger.............................32

9 Logistic Regression: Officers Associated with Big Deal................... ..............33

10 Multiple Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Concern/Anger ..........33

11 Logistic Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Bush Apologize ..........33














Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION OF IRAQI PRSIONER ABUSE: AN EMPIRICAL
TEST OF THE LEGITIMACY AND RECREANCY THEORETICAL
FRAMEWORKS

By

Rachel L. Taylor

December 2005

Chair: Alex Piquero
Major Department: Criminology, Law and Society

What explains American public opinion on who is responsible for the Iraqi

prisoner abuse? Americans' assessments of institutions shape their response to the

abuse scandal, insofar as to blame the individual or the institution. According to the

literature, both recreancy and legitimacy have explanatory power. Freudenburg

defines recreancy as, the failure of institutional actors to carry out their

responsibilities with the degree of vigor necessary to merit the societal trust they

enjoy". When institutions are perceived as being recreant, people are likely to be

concerned. Tyler and Darley define legitimacy as lawful, in accordance with

accepted standards, and those authorities which are legitimate "ought to be obeyed."

For this thesis, legitimacy will be explored in the context of how individuals may or

may not question legitimate authority as represented by military officers when they

disagree with the official message. This thesis will also examine the media's effects










and whether more or less exposure to media sources may influence American public

opinion.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

In examining Americans' opinions on the Iraqi prisoner abuse, the elements that

shape those opinions must first be determined. This thesis will explore key relationships

between national norms of moral responsibility and legitimacy, recreancy or institutional

assessments, and how they relate to war crimes in general, and more specifically, how

they relate to Americans' views on who is responsible for the Iraqi prisoner abuse.

Furthermore, this thesis will also explore media's effects on the American public opinion.

First and foremost, the United States is a nation that idealizes individuality and

therefore individual responsibility. In relation to war criminals, the idea of

individualizing guilt is as old as the Nuremburg Military Tribunals conducted after

WWII. "... [P]rior to Nuremburg, the standard sanctions for violations of the laws of

warfare had been either military reprisals or ... reparations imposed by the victorious

states upon the losers" (Levinson, 1973: 247). Skeptics argue that this change occurred

in order to prosecute Nazi Germany more effectively (Kelman and Hamilton, 1989: 73).

While some argue that individualizing guilt omits the idea of collective responsibility and

the role of the state or society in the production of the criminal, others argue that there is

no such thing as collective responsibility or that it is just a way of getting out of

pinpointing guilty individuals. Despite the varying opinions on the subject and

Nuremburg's codification of individual responsibility, the truth is that only relatively

high-ranking soldiers were held to such standards. Questions about responsibility may

linger in the minds of the public due to the difficulty inherent in establishing









responsibility with regards to the structured hierarchy of the military. With regards to the

Iraqi prisoner abuse, are the superior officers of the prison guards responsible? How

many of those officers should be charged as war criminals and how far up the chain of

command should the responsibility fall?

Opinions about state responsibility are interlinked with the individual's perceptions

of the state's legitimacy or illegitimacy: Whether or not the government and its actions

are seen as legitimate may affect feelings of anger or disapproval about the Iraqi prisoner

abuse. If the state's actions are seen as legitimate, then those opinions about

responsibility will more than likely reflect that. In other words, one might expect that if

the state's actions are seen as legitimate, then individuals will not be as angry. Also, how

the government deals with responsibility of war crimes may further influence feelings

about the Iraqi prisoner abuse. Tyler and Darley define legitimacy as lawful, in

accordance with accepted standards, and those authorities which are legitimate "ought to

be obeyed" (2000: 707). If the American public feels that lower-ranking soldiers are

subjects of the state, they may be more inclined to feel that higher-ranking soldiers are

responsible despite the American tradition of individual responsibility. Also, due to the

vagueness of some laws of war, which has been somewhat reflected in media coverage,

the American public may further consider lower-ranking soldiers as less responsible.

Military personnel are taught to obey their superiors, therefore it may be expected that the

American public will attribute the actual interpretation of the laws of war to the officers

in charge.

In addition, what can we expect when the state or any other legitimate institution

becomes recreant? Since the 1960's, the American people have been much more critical









of its government than they had been during the first half of the century, especially in

relation to war. America's involvement in the Vietnam war led to a massive decline in

political trust from 1966-1975 (Cunningham, 2002: 520). Between 1980 and 1984 there

was a slight recovery in public trust, but, according to Miller and Borrelli, this increase

was not fully established, nor was it due to a solution that solved the root problem that

caused the decline in the first place (1991: 153). This decline in public trust may be in

part due to the government's recreancy during this timeframe. According to

Freudenburg's definition of recreancy, the failure of the institution, or the government,

was its lack of success in Vietnam coupled with the massive loss of life endured by the

nation.

These experiences have made America's citizens reluctant to enter a long-enduring

war and may also affect how the government continues to be viewed today. Americans

now prefer swift military action over a lasting involvement with international conflicts

(Cunningham, 2002: 522). Feelings of fear and insecurity from the attacks of September

11th demanded immediate action from the world's strongest military power. Similar to

America's predicament in Vietnam, the U.S. again finds itself in a situation that it cannot

readily back out of. This thesis will further explore how increasing tensions between the

Iraqis and Allied forces have lead to what we now refer to as the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Finally, in order to examine media's effects on the American public opinion, it is

important to identify what media the public was exposed to. The amount of time from

the first story about the prisoner abuse was broadcasted, May 1, 2005 (Television News

Archive: Vanderbilt University: 2000), until the day the data used in this thesis was

collected, May 5-6, 2005, amounts to a total of about five days. Within those five days,









nearly every media source in the United States spent some amount of time covering the

Iraqi prisoner abuse story. Many television news broadcasts aired several stories about it

each day. To say the least, media coverage of the Iraqi prisoner abuse was widespread

between May 1-5, 2005. While there was no doubt that these incidents occurred, some

news reports portrayed the government as condoning the abuse and insisting that these

incidents were isolated, while still others portrayed the government as non-reactive,

unapologetic, and declaring that these incidents were widespread. Different media

sources may have had differing effects, but there is little doubt that this knowledge had at

least some effect on the American public.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Let us further examine the terminology in this literature: the state, legitimacy (and

even more importantly, the state's legitimate actions), war crimes, and recreancy. It is

important to understand the ambiguities surrounding these terms and what roles they play

in sculpting the opinions of the average American with respect to the Iraqi prisoner

abuse. Furthermore, a state's legitimacy must be taken in context of the society in which

it resides and its surrounding states; therefore economy, politics, and international

relations must also be considered. Elements of civil society are not only interconnected,

but they are also interlinked with the civilians that reside in it. This argument will also

prove vital in the explanation of public opinion.

For this thesis, "the state" is conceptualized as a "public power," or in other words,

an institution equipped with the ability to use force. Therefore, state "actors" are the

personnel that organize such an institution and in turn possess the capability of enforcing

that power (Ward and Green, 2000: 76). Legitimate actions committed by the personnel

do not necessarily have to meet norms and or beliefs and are therefore not subject to the

label of "evil or unjust." In other words, an act that is deviant is not necessarily

illegitimate. "Moreover, the concept of legitimacy is, as we shall see, so beset with

ambiguities and questions of degree that it can hardly be used to define anything," (Ward

and Green, 2000: 78).

This same notion can be extended to that of a war crime. As defined by Article 6

of the 1945 Charter of the International Military Tribunal, war crimes are,









... namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include,
but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any
other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory [sic], murder or ill-
treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of
public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or
devastation not justified by military necessity. (Dinstein, 1996: 1)

Also included in war crimes are employment of poisoned weapons or the improper

use of flags of truce (Dinstein, 1996: 3). As stated by the definition, such evil or unjust

acts may be considered legitimate when they are catalyzed by military necessity.

It is important then to understand the ambiguity surrounding the military necessity

exception. The "Double Effect" rule was instated to explain further the military necessity

exception, but it does more than bring up uncertainty; it is a possible explanation as why

individual soldiers may be more inclined to commit war crimes. As illustrated above,

international laws forbid 'unnecessary human suffering' but allow for military action that

will assist in the victory of war. According to this rule, attacking non-combatants is

generally prohibited. However, if these same non-combatants are in the path of a military

target, military action is then permitted. Under these circumstances, their deaths are

considered collateral damage. According to Walzer, "[t]he Double Effect is a way of

reconciling the absolute prohibition against attacking non-combatants with the legitimate

conduct of military activity" (Walzer, 1979: 153). The argument is laid out as follows:

1. The act is good in itself or at least indifferent, which means, for our
purposes, that it is a legitimate act of war.

2. The direct effect is morally acceptable-the destruction of military supplies,
for example, or the killing of enemy soldiers.

3. The intention of the actor is good, that is, he aims only at the acceptable
effect; the evil effect is not one of his ends, nor is it a means to his ends.

4. The good effect is sufficiently good to compensate for allowing the evil
effect; it must be justifiable under Sidgwick's proportionality rule.









A rule of thumb is that the amount of force used should not be disproportionate to

the object to be achieved. The vagueness of the definitions of legitimacy and war crimes

continues to present a problem for both direct participants and the citizens of that society.

Some even argue that the purpose of the laws of war is to legitimize war crimes rather

than limit them (Normand and Jochnick, 1994: 388). While soldiers may be required to

memorize these rules and others, such as how to treat a prisoner of war, when they are in

boot camp, applicability in present day Iraq may be questionable due to uncertainty

surrounding the situation. This issue will be readdressed this later on.

The most troubling of the key terms in this thesis is recreancy because unlike the

state, legitimacy, and war crimes, recreancy is a relatively new term and has therefore

been less researched. Again, Freudenburg defines recreancy as, ". the failure of

institutional actors to carry out their responsibilities with the degree of vigor necessary to

merit the societal trust they enjoy" (1993: 909). Freudenburg coined this phrase because

he felt that the English language did not have a phrase that encompassed all of the

elements (credibility, trustworthiness, responsibility, and behavior) that make up his

newly constructed term. Freudenburg states that one who is recreant is not necessarily an

"evil-doer"; rather, someone who is recreant can fail in trust, competence, or

responsibility and can be used at either the individual or the collective level (1993, 916).

As the nation has become more dependent on its corporate and governmental

institutions, the risk of recreancy has increased. Freudenburg's study supports the fact

that American citizens recognize this fact and have become more aware of the different

types of risks that they face today. In his study, the recreancy perspective explains

roughly three times as much variance in concern than socio-demographic and ideological









variables combined. While Freudenburg concentrated his study on facilities that handled

nuclear waste, he argues that his results may be applicable to other institutions

(Freudenburg, 1993: 915-817). If the military fails to carry out its responsibilities in a

manner that is congruent with the norms of the average American, it may be deemed as a

recreant institution. Unlike the Freudenburg study, this thesis contains data on the sense

people have of whether actions do or do not deserve trust. Therefore, not only will this

newly adapted term assist in understanding how recreant institutions may influence the

public's opinions, but this thesis may then, in turn, be an advancement on previous

research.

In this piece, it is important to understand how legitimacy and recreancy are

interrelated. While both of these terms address the lawful obedience to acceptable

standards by the institutions and the personnel that enforce them, recreancy refers more to

the institution itself as legitimacy more so addresses the actions of these institutions.

While they are similar, they are not the same thing.

Let us return to legitimacy and further examine how it relates to the civil society

and its influential elements; mainly the economy, politics, and the media. Civil society is

defined by Adamson (1987-1988: 320) as "the space between large-scale bureaucratic

structures of state and economy on the one hand and the private sphere of family,

friendship, personality, and intimacy on the other." Those occupying this space are then

further defined as "organizations which generate opinions and goals with which they seek

not only to influence public opinions and policies within existing structures and rules, but

sometimes also to alter the structure and rules themselves" (1987-1988: 321 italics not in

original). Civil society and the economy have an intimate interdependency; the economy









relies on the civil society as much as the civil society depends on the economy. The role

of politics is then to govern civil society and the economy and therefore possess a

stronghold on the entire relationship, including public opinion.

How does the media affect all of these elements? Some points to how the media

influences peoples' opinions about the economy and politics, while others further argue

that the media is influenced by politics. Unfortunately over time the media has become

more influenced by these same elements that it is supposed to be the most objective

about. In the article "The Decline of Mass Media," Richard Maisel (1973) argues that the

only way to examine our institutions is in retrospect and that specialized media is

becoming increasingly important due to the lack of reliability on the mass media. Since

the media regulate to a large extent the public's knowledge about world events, the media

also has the capability of influencing public opinion. The media, especially television

networks, are limited to the number of stories aired and breadth of information

surrounding those select cases. In turn, the stories that a given network chooses to air are

highly influential on public opinion and the media has made no secret of the Iraqi

prisoner abuse.

According to Benjamin Page, mass media indirectly influences beliefs and politics.

He points out how some television stations are more liberal/conservative than others and

communications specialists agree that it is nearly impossible to have a value-free report.

While they are hesitant about saying that journalists have a political agenda per se, it is

clear that some views are consistent with some political heads and agendas. Because

government sources are used in many of the cases in which political views are being

explored, Page argues that it is only natural that some reports will be skewed. While few









studies have been done as to whether it is the journalists themselves who may be biased

or whether it is the owners or managers of the media source, it is clear that the media is

subjective (Page, 1996: 20-24).

Page agrees with Maisel and points out that there is much research that indicates

that media bias has a large effect on citizens, policy makers, and public opinion. The

impact of media as political actors relies heavily upon how persuasive power is

distributed among them and how political stands are distributed among media outlets. In

other words, it is more influential if all media outlets are sending out the same news then

when different ideas are sent out from different media sources.

As with any other type of socialization, individuals are taught from an early age to

obey and respect the laws and those that enforce the laws of the state. In turn, children

learn to internalize these rules as morals. When this fails, authorities look to legitimacy

to be their strong hold in the public's opinion. For example, some citizens may not feel

that a law such as the legalization of abortion is morally correct, but most citizens will

defer to those laws and those that enforce them despite the moral conflict (Tyler and

Darley, 2000: 722). For example, those individuals that feel that abortion is similar to

murder and are strongly opposed to abortions, they will resist these rules (Tyler and

Darley, 2000: 729).

Robinson and Darley (1995: 201) agree that perceptions of morality affect citizen

compliance. They argue that citizens are much more likely to obey rules and laws that

they feel are morally correct and therefore more likely to defer to authority figures who

enforce those laws than if the laws go against their own social values. When citizens are

positively motivated to obey authority, they are much more willing to comply than when









presented with threat or force. On the same note, if a citizen does not believe that the

authority figure possesses the same moral values or that the laws that he or she enforces

are not morally correct, the citizen may also believe that authority figure to be

illegitimate. In other words, if the American people feel that the military or the state

actors are morally incorrect with respect to their actions, they will no longer trust them

and/or deem them as recreant and vice versa.

Once legitimacy has been established, one way authorities may maintain legitimacy

is by using fairness of procedures and ethics (Tyler and Darley, 2000: 723). If citizens

feel that those in authority are being fair, they are more likely to obey them and vice

versa. A poor personal experience with a legal authority can dismantle the credibility of

that institution for that individual. At the same time, when fear or the threat of violence

is flourishing in a nation, the public may not consider some fairness of procedures and

ethics to be as important or as compelling.

Historical evidence of this fact is the containment of Japanese Americans during

WWII. On December 7, 1941, Japanese aviators destroyed or damaged nineteen United

States Navy ships and submarines, annihilated a number of planes and military facilities,

and killed approximately 2,300 American citizens, an incident that is forever ingrained in

the minds of Americans as the bombing of Pearl Harbor (Daniels, 1993: 22). Rumors of

espionage by Japanese Americans spread panic among both the American citizens and

politicians (although it was later revealed that these were false allegations). Daniels

further states that, ... the press, the public, politicians, and some military officials

began to clamor that something had to be done about the 'Japs who were running around

loose"' (Daniels, 1993: 27). This fear and distrust by both political leaders and the public









lead to the internment and abuse of thousands of Japanese Americans. Okihiro and Sly

(1983: 66) have found that while the public originally were not in favor of the internment

of Japanese Americans, a series of events by government officials and publicity from the

media generated public support. In other words, the American public felt that the

internment and mistreatment of Japanese Americans during this time in history was

legitimatized by the fear and uncertainty they experienced from the bombing of Pearl

Harbor combined with the fact that government officials were executing these actions.

In the past, media did not illustrate images of Japanese Americans being abused

that have been depicted to the American public recently with regards to Iraqi prisoners.

In a time when citizens were less critical of the American public, it was decades before

the mistreatment of Japanese Americans was publicly recognized by Ronald Reagan.

Since the 1970's the American people have been more critical of government actions.

Now pictures and stories in the media depicting soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners has

brought these incidents to light in the in the minds of the American people.

Gramsci understands people's opinions and beliefs are not cut and dry; that power

works in a much more subtle way. He argues that the governing power must make

economic sacrifices for the subordinate group and that this relationship is very unstable

and can be turned very quickly (Gramsci, 1971: 57-80). There must be a give and take

relationship of some kind, no matter how superficial. He illustrates legitimacy as mostly

an economic relationship between the classes and speaks of such transactions as

bargaining. Gramsci says that the authorities merely make it appear as if their values and

interests are the similar to those of the subordinates. For this thesis, one can make sense

of this relationship by saying that the state, or the military, offers the American public









safety and security and in turn the public may be willing to ignore some of the less

honorable on-goings at the Iraqi prison camps in order to achieve a sense of protection.

The American public may then in turn feel that those in authority possess the same

interests when in reality they do not.

Acceptance from the international community is also important to both the average

American and even more important to the government. To be excluded or shamed from

this community can have detrimental effects on the economy and safety of the United

States. As long as its dominance appears to serve universal interests, they are able to

maintain legitimacy within the international community. Both membership and material

goods/trade are benefits to conforming to international rules and norms (Ward and Green,

2000: 84-85).

The Iraqi prisoner abuse then has the potential of damaging this image both

nationally and internationally. According to Risse and Sikkink, shaming is a way of

persuading leaders that their behavior is unacceptable to other civilized communities

(1999: 15). Later, Sullivan illustrates how the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has been depicted

to the international community as merely a few isolated incidences. He then argues that

in actuality the problem is much more extensive than it is perceived to be. In accordance

with both Risse and Sikkink's argument supplemented by Sullivan's, it is possible (and

even more importantly the public may think that it is possible) that the state may attempt

to salvage its image in both the international community and in the minds of the

American public by prosecuting a few individuals rather than accepting the responsibility

for a much more widespread issue.









An alternative view to Sullivan's argument is that there simply is not enough

evidence to incriminate other individuals. As stated above, America has not fully

recovered from its decline in political trust from 1966-1975 (Cunningham, 2002: 520).

Historically, both American and foreign soldiers have not been strangers to crimes of

obedience. Most Americans are able to recall vivid images of incidents in Rwanda and

the Vietnam War; the slaughter of innocent women and children. One main issue

inherent in war crimes and crimes of obedience is law enforcement and the attribution of

responsibility in these cases. As with domestic criminals, only a small number of

individuals are actually found and punished. Overall, the entire judicial process is not

very efficient (Ellis, 2001: 98). Literally thousands of war crimes were committed in

Vietnam, but there were virtually no trials for them except that of the famous incident in

which Lieutenant Calley ordered the massacre of 109 Vietnamese.

Similarly, in Rwanda between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi

minority, were killed and even more were raped or wounded by Hutus (the majority).

Over 100,000 people were accused of participating in these atrocities, but maybe a

handful will actually go to trial (Steiner and Alston, 2000: 84-85). Unfortunately,

limitations of the both local and the international courts hinder the judicial processing of

these war crimes. In order to maintain legitimacy, some individuals must be prosecuted

for their actions.

As mentioned previously, either these individuals are possibly scapegoats so that

the state can maintain a positive public image, there simply is not enough evidence to

make any further implications, or it may maintain that the laws of war are unable to

uphold strict liability. According to Levinson (1973: 257) for war crimes both mens rea









and actus reus are necessary. Furthermore, "knowledge that a crime has been or is about

to be committed is not sufficient to warrant a conviction ... (Levinson, 1973, 258).

When it comes to superior officers' knowledge, even official documentation laced with

signatures is insufficient as proof of knowledge unless it was initiated by them (Levinson,

1973: 259). Whether the blame is placed on the laws or those who make or interpret the

laws, the fact is that a limited number of people are being punished for a mass of

misconduct.

With this in mind, it is clear that the need to establish culpability exists. Kritz

agrees with Ellis in that there is a "need to establish mechanisms of accountability ... "

(Kritz, 1999: 172). The latest solution has been the conversion of local courts to one

international court that deals solely with war crimes. In order for an international court to

succeed, it must be willing to assist with the enforcement of its laws and ideologies.

While the Cold War had slowed the process of developing a more permanent

international court, its revival in 1993 has been followed up by an agreement to draft and

adopt a treaty establishing this permanent international court in 1998. Skeptics argue that

an international court is a waste of resources and will again have little deterrent effect,

but more than 100 countries were willing to make the leap forward. While the United

States has originally signed the treaty instating the International Criminal Court (ICC),

since then President Bush unsigned it. By unsigning this treaty, the United States may

have lost legitimacy in the international community as well as in the minds of the

American people.

When establishing responsibility, not only do the individual soldiers, superior

officers, and the "state" have to be examined, but the circumstances in which soldiers









commit these atrocities must also be understood. The question of other extenuating

circumstances that might drive upstanding soldiers to treat Iraqi prisoners of war in such

a manner or maybe even allow superior officers turn their head in these instances must be

addressed.

Most Americans know the "story" as follows: a handful of British soldiers who

were on the night shift became war criminals when they humiliated and abused Iraqi

prisoners. These war criminals are usually found to be rarities in an honored military

command; bad apples. The identified unlawful soldiers have been and continue to be

tried in a court that rejects such atrocities. But, according to two volumes, "The Abu

Ghraib Investigations," by a former Newsweek editor, Steven Strasser, and "Torture and

Truth," by a New York Review of Books contributor, Mark Danner, these incidents are

far from few and isolated events. These books are almost numbingly exhaustive in

their cataloging of specific mistakes, incidents and responsibilities" (Sullivan, 2005: 8).

Sullivan reports that in actuality these atrocities amount to hundreds of thousands of

events. According to Cunningham, whenhn public perceptions of the reality don't mesh

with the stated ideology, for growing sectors of the population, conflict and legitimation

problems intensify" (2002: 518).

In several interviews with soldiers, the treatment of the guards by the prisoners has

been revealed. American and British soldiers have informed the public that practically on

a day-to-day basis, Iraqi prisoners throw their feces and urine at the American and British

soldiers who guard them. Iraqi prisoners allegedly yell obscenities at the military police

officers and threaten to take the lives of soldiers' families upon release. Public









knowledge of these events may also play a big role in influencing Americans' public

opinion about the Iraqi abuse.

The state of mind of the average American must not be neglected when examining

their opinions. As stated previously, fairness is less of an issue when the threat of

violence exists; the same threat can also influence political and social change. Like the

bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the attacks on September 11th, 2001 and the threat of

further violence post-9/11 may have been a substantial enough strain for a change in

opinions to take place. Nieberg states that "...when the threat and fear come near or

cross the threshold, a general tendency toward non-enforcement of the law sets in. The

status quo interests begin to share with the disaffected groups a desire to evade and to

change the law" (Nieberg, 1962: 808). This statement can speak for an attitudinal change

in both the soldiers and the American public.

Finally, it is important to readdress military necessity and its role in the abuse of

Iraqi prisoners. If both the soldiers and the American public are persuaded that the abuse

of the Iraqi prisoners is of military necessity, then the government will not only be able to

maintain legitimacy, but Americans may not be as upset or angry than they may

otherwise be. On the other hand, even though such military conduct may be deemed

necessary, it may not merit the trust that the Bush Administration or the armed forces

enjoy. In Sullivan's piece, he quotes President Bush saying "As a matter of policy, the

United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent

appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the

principles of Geneva" (2005: 8).









Furthermore, Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee argues that the treatment of

the Iraqi prisoners is not torture. He says that the president was in his legal rights to

allow the military to inflict "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment on the prisoners

without it being labeled the strict definition of torture. In order to be labeled as torture,

Bybee says that "the abuser must be inflicting pain 'of such a high level of intensity that

the pain is difficult for the subject to endure'" (Sullivan, 2005: 8).

Also previously mentioned was how soldiers are required to memorize how to treat

prisoners of war. At some point during boot camp, each soldier receives training on the

human treatment of prisoners of war. Any prisoner, whether combatant or non-

combatant, is to receive proper and humane treatment. In other words, torture is

prohibited and punishable by court-martial. There is no question that the actions of the

soldiers illustrated in the photographs publicized by the media are illegal, but their

actions may be considered less questionable if military necessity requires it. Under these

circumstances, the abuse may even be considered self-defense where the treatment is

necessary to extract information from the captives in order to prevent further attacks on

American civilians and ally soldiers. Whether or not the accused soldiers' actions are in

themselves legitimate is of no consequence in this thesis if the American public believes

their actions to be legitimate.

Conflicting views on what constitutes torture, coupled with vague instructions from

government officials, may lead to confusion about limitations on treatment of the enemy.

Eric Schmitt, a reporter for the New York Times, references this in his article titled "3 in

82nd Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners was Routine." In this article, Schmitt quotes









Captain Fishback of the U.S. Army from a letter he wrote to the Senate Armed Services

Committee on September 16, 2005 stating:

Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my
leadership about what constitutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees. I am
certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death
threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced
physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading
treatment. (2005: 1)

If military and political actors are unable to agree on what is military necessity,

what is humane treatment, and what is a prisoner of war, how will the civilian population


be able to make these distinctions.














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Data

In order to test the legitimacy and recreancy franks, data from the ABC

News/Washington Post Iraq Abuse Poll (May of 2004) was used. The population

sampled for this survey included respondents aged 18 years and older living in

households with telephones in the continental United States (48 states). The sample was

selected using a systematic random sampling from which a representative sample of 802

individuals was drawn. The interviewers instituted a random-digit dialing method to

ensure the inclusion of both listed and non-listed telephone numbers. Within the

household, the respondent selected was the adult residing in the household who most

recently had a birthday and was home at the time of the interview. Furthermore, to

compensate for the fact that women tend to be easier to reach, the interviewers were

asked to speak to the male household member 75 percent of the time and the female 25

percent of the time. If the selected sex was unavailable, the interviewer asked to speak

with the person of the other sex who last had a birthday. Among the information

collected included basic demographic information (sex, age, ethnicity, education, and

political party affiliation) and views pertaining to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Hypotheses

The main question that this thesis seeks to answer is: what factors explain

Americans' opinions on who is responsible for the Iraqi prisoner abuse ? After the

review of the literature, the hypothesis is that whether or not Americans see the Bush









Administration's actions as legitimate and whether or not it is seen as a recreant

institution will in fact affect these opinions. In other words, those individuals who

disapprove of both the war itself and the handling of the Iraqi prisoner abuse by the Bush

Administration will be more likely to place the responsibility of the abuse on the higher

ranking soldiers rather than the individual soldier and vice versa. Also, those respondents

who think that President Bush should apologize to Iraq for the prisoner abuse and who do

not feel that the war is worth fighting will have higher levels of concern/anger and will be

more likely to feel that the abuse is a big deal.

The literature also supports the idea that media affects public opinion. One might

suspect that those who are exposed to, or expose themselves to, more media pertaining to

the abuse of Iraqi prisoners will have stronger negative feelings about it and the Bush

Administration. In other words, respondents more exposed to the media will be more

likely to think that Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents.

Furthermore, the hypothesis is that this same individual will be more likely to see the

Bush Administration as a recreant institution and vice versa. If the reverse were to occur,

one might imagine, as Maisel (1973) points out, that the media may be politically fueled.

Also, it is hypothesized that individuals exposed to more media will be more likely to feel

that the apparent abuse of the Iraqi prisoners is more widespread rather than being

restricted to merely a few incidents. Finally, those individuals who are exposed to more

media will have stronger feelings of concern/anger and more likely to indicate that the

incidents are a big deal.

Dependent Variables

The dependent variables of this thesis include Americans' opinions on the extent of

the abuse, whether individual soldiers or higher-ranking officers should be responsible









for the abuse, and personal reactions to the abuse itself. Opinions on the extent of abuse

is operationalized by question number seven from the survey; "Do you think the apparent

abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers represents a few isolated incidents, or do you

think it's more widespread than that?" Responses to question number nine, "(Do you

think higher-level military officers should be punished for allowing a breakdown in

training and discipline that let this happen), or (do you think these incidents are only the

responsibility of the individual soldiers involved)?" will be used to examine the

dependent variable of whether individual soldiers or higher-ranking officers should be

responsible for the abuse. I will also use this variable as an independent variable in order

to predict concern/anger and whether the respondent felt the incidents were a big deal.

Finally, personal reactions to the abuse itself are directly examined by the questions

thirteen and fourteen respectively "What's your own personal reaction to the apparent

abuse of Iraqi prisoners?", "Do you feel that these incidents are (not a big deal, because

this kind of thing happens in a war situation), or do you think that they are (a big deal,

because this kind of abuse is unacceptable no matter the situation)?", and question eight,

"Do you think the soldiers involved should or should not be charged with a crime?" For

these questions, the words in the parentheses were reversed for every other respondent to

eliminate leading the individual interviewed.

In order to analyze the effects on these variables, they were then recorded into

dummy variables. For question number seven the response, "Abuse is more widespread"

was recorded from 2 to 0, the response "Represents a few isolated incidents" retained its

value of"1" and all other responses including "don't know/no opinion" were labeled as

"missing." For the results section, question seven is labeled "Widespread/Isolated." The









responses to question nine were transformed from three responses (officer's should be

punished for breakdown, responsibility of individual soldier, and neither) into two. This

was done in order to isolate what influences opinions about whether officers should be

punished. Thus, "Officers should be punished for breakdown" retained the value of 1,

"Responsibility of individual soldiers" and "Neither" responses were assigned a value of

0, and all other responses including "don't know/no opinion" were labeled as "missing."

For the results section, question nine is labeled "Officers." For question eight, "Do you

think the soldiers involved should or should not be charged with a crime?," the response

"should" retained the value of 1 but was relabeled as "charged," "should not" was

reassigned the value of 0 and relabeled as "no charge," and all other responses including

"don't know/no opinion" were labeled as "system missing." For the results section,

question eight is labeled "Crime." The only alteration made for the responses to question

thirteen was that "don't know/no opinion" and all other responses were labeled as

"system missing." Therefore, all other responses (Not concerned=l, Concerned but not

upset=2, Upset but not angry=3, and Angry=4) all retained their original values. For the

results section, question thirteen is labeled "Concern/Anger." Responses to question

fourteen was recorded so that "Not a big deal, happens in war" took on a value of 0 and

"Big deal, abuse is unacceptable" took on the value of 1. Again, all other responses

including "don't know/no opinion" were recorded as "system missing." For the results

section, question fourteen is labeled "Big Deal."

Independent Variables

The independent variables for this thesis will include feelings of illegitimacyy of

state actors and feelings about whether the Bush Administration is recreant, and exposure

to media. A few questions were isolated as indicators of feelings about legitimacy and









recreancy: question one; "All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the

benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not?

and question six; "Do you think Bush should or should not apologize to the Iraqi people

for these incidents?" Later in the analysis, "Bush apologize" will be used as a dependent

variable when measuring the effect, if any, exposure to media will have on feelings of

recreancy and legitimacy. Exposure to media will be operationalized by the question

number four from the questionnaire; "How closely have you been following news reports

about the apparent abuse of some Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq very

closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, not too closely, or not closely at all?"

The independent variables have also been recorded for analysis. For question one,

"Yes worth fighting for" responses retained their original value of 1, while "No, not

worth fighting" responses were assigned the value of 0. Other responses including "don't

know/no opinion" responses were labeled as "system missing." For the results section,

question one is labeled "War Worth Fighting." For question six, response "should

apologize" retained the value of 1 and was relabeled as "yes," "should not apologize"

was reassigned the value of 0 and were relabeled as "no," and all other responses

including "don't know/no opinion" were labeled as "system missing." For the results

section, question six is labeled "Bush Apologize." Question four, "How closely have you

been following the news reports about the apparent abuse of some Iraqi prisoners by

American soldiers in Iraq very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not

closely at all?," was not recorded into a "dummy variable" like questions one, six, and

eight. The original dataset had "very closely" labeled as one, "somewhat closely" labeled

as two, "not too closely" labeled as three, and "not closely at all" labeled as four. This









coding was reversed to indicate "very closely" labeled as four, "somewhat closely"

labeled as three, "not too closely" labeled as two, and "not closely at all" labeled as 1.

The last alteration made to this response was the re-labeling of the "don't know/no

opinion" responses to "system missing." For the results section, question four is labeled

"Exposure to Media."

Control Variables

Other factors that may influence such opinions and must be controlled for due to

expected influences. In order to minimize spurious relationships, race, age, sex,

education, and political affiliation have been designated as control variables. For

political affiliation, 37.8% were Democrats, 30.9% were Republicans, and 31.3% were

independents. In the dataset, race was originally broken down into categories: Black,

White, Black-Hispanic, White-Hispanic, Hispanic (no race given), Asian, and Other. For

the purposes of this thesis, race was transformed into a dichotomous variable, White and

non-White, in which all categories other than white were grouped together. For this

variable, 27.7% of the respondents were non-White and 72.3% were White. For sex,

48.3% of the respondents identified themselves as male while 51.7% identified

themselves as female. The raw age of the respondents ranged from 18-94 with a mean of

45.23 and a standard deviation of 17.021. For this thesis age was placed in five

categories and were coded as follows; 1=18-29 (21.7%), 2=30-39 (19.1%), 3=40-49

(20.6%),4=50-64 (23.1%), and 5=65+ (16.1%). Education was broken down into three

categories: less than high school, graduated high school, and some college +. Overall,

16% had less than a high school education, 32% graduated high school, and 52% had

some college or more. Again, the hypothesis is that women, Blacks, Democrats, and

better-educated Americans will be more likely to be angry about the Iraqi prisoner abuse









than the men, Whites, Republicans, and less-educated Americans because the former

demographic group is usually more liberal than the latter. Also, better-educated people

are more likely to keep up with current events and be exposed to varied media sources.

As for age, while it is an important control factor, its trend is less predictable.

Analytic Plan

First, legitimacy and recreancy will be used to predict who the American public

thinks is responsible for the Iraqi prisoner abuse. Legitimacy and recreancy will be the

independent variables, while the dependent variable will be public opinion. Next, this

thesis will explore the effects of media on negative feelings toward both prisoner abuse

and the Bush Administration, and whether or not the prisoner abuse was widespread or

isolated. For this analysis, exposure to media will be the independent variable while

feelings toward prisoner abuse, whether Bush should or should not apologize, and

feelings about and whether or not the prisoner abuse was widespread or isolated will be

the dependent variables. In both cases, the control variables will be race, age, sex,

education, and political affiliation.














CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The first table, Frequencies for Control Variables, displays the percent within each

category for the control variables. The second table, Descriptive Statistics, displays the

mean and standard deviations for the dependent and independent variables.

The major findings for Table 3 are that the responses to question six are

significantly related to the responses to question thirteen. Respondents who think Bush

should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents also have stronger feelings of

anger about the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners. This model also illustrates that women

are more concerned than men, Whites are more concerned then non-Whites, better-

educated people are more concerned then the less educated people, and older people are

more concerned then younger people. Whether or not respondents thought the war with

Iraq was worth fighting for did not significantly affect levels of concern as predicted.

One explanation for the variance between men and women is that women tend to

internalize incidences more so than men. Overall, this model explains 23.9% of the

variance in Concern/Anger.

Table 4 also somewhat illustrates an expected outcome. Respondents who think

Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents and the War is worth

fighting also think that these incidents are a big deal and that abuse is unacceptable. Sex,

race, party id, and age did not significantly predict the outcome variable; only education

showed a significant effect. The education effect is as expected; the more educated the









individual, the more likely they will think that the incidents are a bid deal and that abuse

is unacceptable. The Nagelkerke R-square for this model is .258.

Table 5 illustrates some unexpected results. According to the model, media does

not significantly influence whether the respondent thinks that the abuse represents a few

isolated incidents or if they think it is more widespread. These conclusions may be a

result of the type of media the respondents were exposed to. Race, age, and education

did have significant effects in this model. White, better-educated, and older respondents

were more likely to think these were more isolated incidents then their non-White, the

less educated, younger counterparts. The Nagelkerke R-square for this model is .173.

Table 6 illustrates the association that whether or not a respondent thinks Bush

should apologize to the Iraqi people is significantly related to whether or not the

respondent thought the soldiers involved should be charged with a crime. In other words,

respondents who think Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents are

more likely to think that soldiers involved should be charged with a crime. In this model,

the "War Worth Fighting" is not a significant variable and the only control variable that

was statistically significant was race; White respondents are more likely to think that

soldiers involved should be charged with a crime. The Nagelkerke R-square is .163 for

this model.

Yet again, Table 7 illustrates expected results; responses to "War Worth Fighting"

and "Bush Apologize" are significantly related to responses to "Officers". Respondents

who indicated that they thought Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people for these

incidents were more likely to indicate that officers should be punished for the breakdown.

Respondents who indicated that the Iraq war was not worth fighting were also more









likely to indicate that officers should be punished for the breakdown. This finding

supports the recreancy literature and ties the legitimacy argument to recreancy. The table

also indicates that age and education are statistically significant in the model; older and

better-educated respondents are more likely to indicate that officers should be punished

for the breakdown. The Nagelkerke R-square for this model is .150.

For the proceeding two models, "Officer" is used as an independent variable rather

than a dependent variable in order to predict feelings of concern/anger and whether the

respondent thinks the abuse is a big deal or not. Table 8 indicates that respondents who

indicated that the breakdown in training and discipline on the officers' part allowed the

abuse to occur have stronger feelings of concern and anger. Better-educated and non-

White respondents were also more likely to indicate stronger feelings of concern/anger

about the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners. The R-square for this model is .143.

Table 9 has similar results; respondents that think higher-level military officers

should be punished for allowing a breakdown in training and discipline that let the abuse

occur also indicated that they felt the incidents were a "big deal" and that abuse is

unacceptable. This model did not indicate any statistical significance among the control

variables previously seen in other models.

While the media did not have an effect on whether or not Americans felt that the

incidents were isolated or widespread, as indicated in Table 5, Table 10 shows that the

media does have an effect on Americans' personal reaction. Respondents with higher

levels of exposure to the media were more likely to have stronger feelings of concern and

anger. This table also indicates that both sex and education of the respondent had an









effect as well. For this model, women had stronger feelings of concern and anger than

men, and higher education correlated with higher levels of concern and anger as well.

Table 11 illustrates that media did not have a statistically significant effect on

whether the Bush Administration should apologize to the Iraqi people for these incidents.

These findings are contrary to the expected findings.


Table 1: Frequencies for Control Variables
Variable Valid Percents
Age 18-29=21.1, 30-39=19.1, 40-49=20.6, 50-64=23.1,
65+=16.1
Sex F=51.7, M=48.3
Race W=72.3, Non=27.7
Education Party ID D=34.6, R=28.2, I=28.6


Table 2: Descriptive Statistics
Variable Mean Standard Deviation
War Worth Fighting .510 .500
Exposure to Media 1.974 .926
Bush Apologize .642 .480
Widespread/Isolated .671 .470
Crime .724 .448
Officers .577 .494
Concern/Anger 2.704 .924
Big Deal .715 .452









Table 3: Multiple Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush
Concern/Anger


Apologize Associated with


Variable B SE Beta
Sex -.290 .066* -.155
Race .175 .076* .083
Age .007 .024* .108
Education .175 .045* .108
Party ID .002 .041 .020
War Worth Fighting -.125 .069 -.067
Bush Apologize .763 .070* .392
R-Squared: .239, N=631
*P<.05

Table 4: Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with
Big Deal
Variable B SE EXP (B)
Sex -.135 .201 .503
Party ID -.143 .127 .867
Race -.011 .237 .989
Age -.083 .074 .920
Education .347 .135 1.415
Bush Apologize 1.883 .202* 6.571
War Worth Fighting -.480 .211* .619
Nagelkerke R-Squared: .264, N=635
*P<.05

Table 5: Logistic Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Widespread/Isolated
Variable B SE EXP (B)
Sex .096 .179 1.100
Party ID .194 .109 .075
Race .747 .196* 2.110
Age .297 .069* 1.346
Education .814 .121* 2.257
Exposure to Media .165 .098 1.179
Nagelkerke R-Squared= .173, N=673
*P<.05
















Table 6: Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush
Predicting Crime


Apologize Associated with


Variable B SE EXP (B)
Sex .051 .199 1.234
Party ID .011 .123 1.052
Race .663 .221* 1.940
Age .046 .073 1.047
Education .130 .137 1.138
Bush Apologize 1.593 .211* 4.918
War Worth Fighting .210 .214 1.234
Nagelkerke R-Squared= .161, N=608
*P<.05

Table 7: Logistic Regression: War Worth Fighting & Bush Apologize Associated with
Officers
Variable B SE Exp (B)
Race -.165 .202 .848
Age .228 .065* 1.256
Sex .015 .177 1.015
Education .449 .121* 1.567
Party ID -.149 .109 .862
War Worth Fighting -.373 .183* .689
Bush Apologize 1.019 .185* 2.770
Nagelkerke R-Squared= .150, N=639
*P<.05

Table 8: Multiple Regression: Officers Associated with Concern/Anger
Variable B SE Beta
Race .009 .077 .045
Age .005 .025 .072
Sex -.314 .068* -.168
Education .146 .046* .116
Party ID .003 .041 .032
Officers .517 .069* .273
R-Squared: .143, N=676
*P<.05











Table 9: Logistic Regression: Officers Associated with Big Deal
Variable B SE EXP (B)
Race -.155 .210 .857
Age -.086 .068 .918
Sex -.285 -.182 .752
Education .188 .119 1.206
Political ID -.155 .111 .857
Officers 1.019 .183* 2.771
Nagelkerke R-Squared: .092, N=674
*P<.05


Table 10: Multiple Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Concern/Anger
Variable B SE Beta
Exposure to Media -.169 .038* -.165
Sex -.323 .068* -.174
Education .190 .046* .151
Party ID .001 .041 .010
Race .143 .078 .068
Age .004 .026 .064
R-squared: .097, N=707
*P<.05


Table 11: Logistic Regression: Exposure to Media Associated with Bush Apologize
Variable B SE EXP (B)
Exposure to Media -.177 .095 .838
Sex -.230 .165 .795
Education .138 .112 1.148
Party ID -.080 .100 .923
Race -.418 .195* .658
Age -.065 .062 .937
Nagelkerke R-squared: .029, N=677
*P<.05














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

The purpose of this study is to explore possible explanations of American public

opinion on who is responsible for the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. More specifically,

this thesis examines whether the legitimacy and recreancy theoretical frameworks

reviewed are supported. For this thesis, legitimacy was examined in the context of

whether individuals would respond to illegitimate acts or actors with concern or anger.

Furthermore, the more that these abusive acts are recurrent, the greater the reactions these

acts invoke.

An analysis of the data revealed several key findings regarding media effects, the

empirical test of the legitimacy and recreancy theoretical framework, and whether these

frameworks have explanatory power when examining American public opinion on the

abuse of Iraqi prisoners. One conclusion that can be drawn from this thesis is that the

amount of exposure to media does not affect whether the respondent felt that the

incidents were isolated or widespread, nor did it affect whether or not they thought

President Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people. In other words, this thesis did not

find support for the idea that media plays a role in the public's opinion about whether the

government is recreant. What was correlated with media was the level of concern or

anger the respondent felt about the abuse.

Overall, this thesis shows support for both the legitimacy and recreancy theoretical

frameworks. Furthermore, this study found that these frameworks helped explain the

American public opinion on both levels of concern and who is responsible for the









incidents. In other words, recreant institutions and illegitimate acts and actors do explain

some variance in feelings of concern/anger and whether or not the respondent felt the

abuse was a big deal. This statement is supported by the results illustrated in Tables 4, 6,

and 7. The questions from the survey operationalized as legitimacy and recreancy were

significantly related to the questions operationalized as public opinion in most cases. In

tables 3 and 6, "War Worth Fighting" was not significant. These results indicate that

"Bush Apologize" was a better indicator for recreancy and legitimacy. Furthermore,

these findings indicate support the recreancy and legitimacy literatures.

The results and conclusions from this thesis will contribute to the field by adding to

the already existing support for legitimacy and coupling it with the relatively new term

recreancy, which has been limited in previous research. These conclusions also add to

the narrow body of knowledge related to war crimes, specifically related to social and

legal reactions. This thesis explores people's perceptions of events as opposed to the

abuse itself and/or why it occurred. This analysis sheds some light on the reactions of the

American people and may promote further research and/or encourage future theoretical

additions related to this topic.

As with any other study, this thesis is not without limitations. When exploring

media effects, it is difficult to discern whether an increase in media exposure influenced

levels of concern or whether more media exposure was not a result from concern; as to

say the respondent followed the story more closely due to concern and anger about the

abuse. Another limitation on the analysis of media effects is the fact that the survey did

not include a question about the type of media to which the respondents were exposed.

As indicated previously by Maisel, media is more influential when all sources make the









same argument. Different forms and sources of media may have had differing biases on

the Iraqi prisoner abuse. Therefore, while the media may have played a role, it may be

unclear as to the nature of the effects if different sources had portrayed varying views.

Another limitation of this study is that it used secondary data. While this survey

asked legitimacy and recreancy related questions, it did not ask the respondents about

legitimacy and recreancy directly. In a study where direct questions were asked about

legitimacy and recreancy, weaker variables such as "War Worth Fighting" could be

substituted. Also, this survey gives the respondent the option to reply to the questions

with a "don't know or no opinion." These response options create problems with missing

data. These responses may have influenced the results.

As with the media effects, the time order issue with regard to the rest of the

analysis may be another concern. In other words, one might argue that it is not certain

that media exposure and acts of legitimacy and recreancy occurred before the feelings of

concern and anger. The rebuttal to this position is the argument that the fact that all of

the questions were asked at the same time is actually a strength of this study. Asking the

respondents all of the survey questions at the same time further ensures that this thesis is

examining the effects of legitimacy and recreancy because the respondent has a reference

point. Noted above, the survey did not address the terms legitimacy and recreancy

directly. Therefore this argument may somewhat subside previous limitations.

Possible future research on this topic should be directed at other samples. For

example, do individuals from military families have different points of view than the

general American public? Also, military personnel reactions may differ as well; they

may afford more legitimacy to the government and/or may be more likely to excuse









similar incidences in a given situation. Through this analysis, sex and race differences

were in many cases statistically significant. In past research, men have tended to be more

punishment oriented than women and blacks tend to be more liberal than whites. Future

researchers should direct their attention at further exploring these differences.

Also, the Iraqi abuse was current during the time this study was being conducted.

As time progresses, opinions about the Iraqi prisoner abuse and the government's actions

with respect to the war may change. As noted with respect to the internment of Japanese

Americans during WWII, the American public opinion about these actions was dynamic

for several decades after the war was over. While the Iraq war and WWII differ in many

ways, the public reaction to the treatment of the "enemy" may be similar in that it may

also be dynamic. As the media portrayal of the abuse dies down, public concern may

also die down. On the contrary, public concern/anger may build as the war stretches on.

Furthermore, years after the conflict in Iraq is over American public opinion may be

completely different. Therefore future researchers should reanalyze this at a later date.

Lastly, future analysis of this topic should include a survey in which direct

questions are assigned to the terms legitimacy and recreancy. While war crimes have

occurred for thousands of years, the study of this type of criminal is relatively recent.

Present-day war waging presents both the public and the government with new non-

traditional technologies, state actors, and war tactics, thus constantly challenging

researchers and policy makers alike to examine its many different effects.















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Rachel Taylor was born on January 11th, 1982, in North Bergen, New Jersey. After

growing up in Mahwah, New Jersey, she attended the University of Maryland, College

Park, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and

criminology/criminal justice in 2004. She moved to Gainesville to enter the graduate

program in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society and the University of

Florida in the fall of 2004 where she earned her Master of Arts degree in criminology in

2005.