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The pictures from Iraq

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  #11  
Old 05-05-2004, 06:12 PM
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I personally find the Stanford experiment more shocking, because the subjects in that were not ordered to do anything -- they just spontaneously started torturing and abusing the other subjects. But Milgram's is also a classic result and a sobering insight into human nature.
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  #12  
Old 05-05-2004, 06:32 PM
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What I find disconcerting is that this is one bubble that floated to the top of the glass and popped. How many more bubbles are out there that haven't popped that we don't know about? I mean, how much has the government been able to cover up and keep from us?

Dave
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  #13  
Old 05-05-2004, 07:52 PM
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I suppose the reason I find the Milgram experiment more sobering is the subject's willingness to go to such extremes.

Milgram, who is Jewish, originally wondered if there was something unique to the German personality which would explain the Holocaust. His original intention was to take the experiment to Germany. However, his results in America convinced him that the excuse and license of "just following orders" is not unique to that culture or nation. He had no need to go to Germany to validate his fears.
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  #14  
Old 05-06-2004, 11:01 AM
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Hi, just a foreign perspective on things. Your troops are not the only ones involved in prisoner abuse. British troops have also been accused of the same offences, and images published in the media. I don't suppose this made news in the U.S as I found your news broadcasts pretty insular when I was on a ski vacation in Vail recently. But it seems that everyone is capable of extreme behaviour when placed in extraordinary circumstances. Surely the stress now shoud be on reinforcing systems in place to ensure that occurences of this type do not happen again.
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  #15  
Old 05-06-2004, 02:26 PM
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It's generally believed the pictures published in the UK tabloids were fake. However at the end of the day setting armies to control civilians never works, the former being trained to destroy opposition not pander to it.
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2004, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Frankly I think that the first step is recognising that the fact that the men under your command are upright, well-balanced, reasonable people
I'm not sure of the make-up of the forces, but I have a feeling these are career soldiers and not conscripts. To paraphrase Chris, career soldiers are trained to kill people. I'm sure that you can expect the same degree of "uprightness" and "reasonableness" from a soldier in the field as from any mugger in the downtown area of any city.

On the other hand, the pics I've seen in our media look rather fake to me. I think most folks on this forum could make pics like that. Remember, you only need a head shot - the rest can be staged. The whole war was a media event - why not take it further?

Last edited by BigAl; 05-07-2004 at 04:04 AM.
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2004, 06:30 AM
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Al, I think you are missing my point (you only quoted half the sentence, missing the important part of the thought it represents) - what I was saying (in a longer form so less open to misinterpretation) is that
  1. In general (not specific to Iraq) a given group of people may be entirely lovely, wonderful people -- people you would take home to meet your mother or be happy to have marry your daughter [OK, not all of them marry your daughter at once, obviously], etc. etc.
  2. BUT they are still almost certainly capable of carrying out these type of acts.
  3. Indeed, if put in a position of untrammelled power over others in the right circumstances, they are likely to carry out these acts - all the psychological evidence suggests that the majority of people will (the subjects in the Stanford experiment were well-educated students at a top-rank university, who had not been trained to kill, but it took them only days to fall into the behaviour patterns).
  4. Therefore anyone in a position of command over a group of individuals who are themselves in a position of more-or-less absolute authority over another group of individuals cannot rely on the calibre of the people under his/her command to ensure that abuses don't occur -- it is essential that institutional checks are in place.
Because this (need for institutional checks) holds true for mother-meeting, daughter-marrying individuals, it holds just as true for those you wouldn't let within a mile of your daughter or mother.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAl
the pics I've seen in our media look rather fake to me.
No one is actually denying the authenticity of the Abu Ghraib photos, though - once the photos got into the public domain the authorities admitted that this stuff had been going on. That would be an odd reaction if the photos were fake (and, conversely, those I've seen don't look fake to me).
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  #18  
Old 05-07-2004, 08:37 AM
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Everyone, including me, was outraged when Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear during a boxing match.

When I discussed it with a friend at work, he said, "I guess it's OK to brain damage your opponent, but you can't bite his ear."

The absurdity of my limited outrage struck me.

I think there might me a parallel here with the current events in Iraq.
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  #19  
Old 05-07-2004, 09:20 AM
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[QUOTE=BigAl]I'm not sure of the make-up of the forces, but I have a feeling these are career soldiers and not conscripts. To paraphrase Chris, career soldiers are trained to kill people. I'm sure that you can expect the same degree of "uprightness" and "reasonableness" from a soldier in the field as from any mugger in the downtown area of any city.

I would suggest that perhaps the opposite is true. These people are probably conscripts, bored to tears wishing they were out seeing some "real" action. To relieve the boredom, let's have some fun with the prisoners. Their commanders probably went along with it to keep the morale high.

Dave
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2004, 10:00 AM
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The people involved in the main instances are reservists, by and large.
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