torture is normal?

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Bry, May 13, 2004.

  1. Bry
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    Bry Member

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    Just thought this was interesting. This article basically confirms my first reation: so what? What was surprising to me was that more prisoner abuse stories hadn't come out earlier. And that the public is surprised. I guess when the evidence is pictures rather than rumors, it becomes difficult for the average American to continue immersed in the lie that they are some how more reasonable, more civilized than all then rest. What I don't understand is that some will still be willing to justify the invasion in moral terms. Is our memory so short?

    Important points from the article IMHO: 1. West Point feels the need to include cases where orders were not followed in their Cadet training. 2. A young lady soldier from West Virginia is capable of commiting (within the limits of her power) the same violations of human rights as Saddam Husein. 3. The point of the article as it is written seems to be "Torture is okay". Am I alone here in thinking that torture cannot effectively answer torture, and that the invasion was from the beginning without moral justification ? Where is USA Today's moral compass?

    Bry

    Top Stories - USATODAY.com

    Abuse less shocking in light of history

    By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

    One of the most surprising things about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers is that so many Americans are surprised.

    Decades of research and eons of history point to one conclusion: Under certain circumstances, most normal people will treat their fellow man with abnormal cruelty. The schoolboys' descent into barbarism in William Golding's classic The Lord of the Flies is fiction that contains a deeper truth.

    And from Andersonville to the "Hanoi Hilton," no combination of circumstances turns us against our better nature faster than the combination of war and prison, whether we are acting on orders or on our own.

    Charles Figley, a Florida State University psychologist who studied the experiences of 1,000 U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War, describes himself as "shocked about people being shocked" by the reports from Iraq (news - web sites).

    "About 25% of the vets I've talked to either participated in, witnessed, or were aware of violations of the Geneva Conventions" in Vietnam, he says.


    whole story
     
  2. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Personally, I think the more heinous acts that are being called 'torture' are despicable. I hope they follow up on each and every one of them and they get discharged from the military. Unfortunately, these soldiers could very well have unwittingly put other soldiers and Americans in Iraq in further danger.

    I still think it's fairly isolated and not indicative of our military as a whole. There is some psychological 'torture', for lack of a better word, that has been proven to get results and that I don't have a problem with. Obviously the acts we have heard of as of late don't seem to fall into that category.

    I just don't see these bad eggs taking away the entire moral justification of the war.

    BTW - Glad to see you back around, Bry! :)
     
  3. Bry
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    Bry Member

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    thanks, Jim. How are things?

    i guess the point of the article is that it's not a matter of good eggs bad eggs. It's a matter of human nature and how it reacts under certain situations.

    It comes down to this: we, as Americans, by claiming moral justification, assert that we as a group behave differently under similar circumstances. These tortures, and history (My Lai to start with) show the contrary (IMHO). Clearly, we as Americans (and Europeans, who I find more honest), don't so regularly find ourselves in those situations. Not so with the rest of the world. What is life as a palestenian? Can we say that as a group, given the same circumstances, we would behave differently? The conclusion I come to is no. Maybe I should simply chalk it up to the corruption of my own personal nature, while assuming that most americans are not so susceptible? Can we all honestly say there are
    no situations in which we would strap that bomb to our back?

    Honestly, I have more sympathy for the xenophobes who say "kill them first because we can", and leave it at that. The moral highroad is too full of reflective roadblocks.

    Bry
     
  4. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    That's a good question. I'm really not sure how more civilized nations would react if put in such as so many face in third world countries. Americans, French, Germans, Russians, Chinese... We've all committed acts many years ago that would be considered despicable by many. I would like to believe those nations have evolved more than the rest and have become more civilized. Of course when an entire nation moves onward that doesn't necessarily mean that every individual does. I think our nation, and military, has it's share of evil doers as do many of the European countries. But I also think we all share a system of better human nature than the third world countries. Although many of us become complacent and take many things for granted, we tend to cherish the value of life to a higher degree.

    I still think as a nation we stand on a much higher moral ground but I'm not naive enough to believe that everyone adheres to what America and freedom stands for.
     

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