Summary: In this interrogation tape, Spc. Adam Winfield tells an Army investigator about a series of premeditated murders of innocent Afghan civilians by fellow platoon members. Speaking of the “ringleader” of the misconduct, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, Winfield says, “He likes to kill things. He is pretty much evil incarnate.”
While Winfield attributes “evil” to Gibbs’ predilection for killing and violence, Cynthia Enloe’s essay “Wielding Masculinity Inside Abu Ghraib” offers an alternative explanation. Contrary to arguments about a few “bad” (or “evil”) apples, Enloe points to the systematic masculinized culture of the US military. This culture (characterized by violence, assumptions around American/Western superiority, and the subjugation of femininity) goes unaccounted for in most military scandal investigations. Enloe argues men and women are pressured to endorse and participate in this culture of masculinity. Responding to how Gibbs might have reacted to Winfield’s refusal to take part in the killing, Winfield says, “I think -- one, he wouldn't have kept me in the loop on things and, if they had thought I had ratted, they would have come after me.” After the killing Winfield said Gibbs told him “he was part of the group.” The investigator asks, “Did he ever hold against you that you killed a man?” Winfield replies, “No, he told me I was a made man after that.” Coupled with Enloe's essay, this clip is useful for showing students how organizations are gendered, and the ways in which patriarchy functions as a system (and is not the product of "a few bad apples").
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp