Der Spiegel has obtained a letter that psychologist Philip Zimbardo — he of the infamous 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment — has written a letter to members of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. In the letter, Zimbardo blames the US goverment for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Zimbardo says that the context of war turns ordinary people (like American soldiers) into “brutal torturers”. Zimbardo encourages the psychologists to resist the “few bad apples” argument being pushed by the Pentagon and the administration to gloss over the incident and ignore the systematic factors that lead to it occuring.

Zimbardo was also interviewed by NPR about the prison experiment yesterday, in which he said much the same thing.