I just read the Time story. The paper gets here late.
No matter, the analysis I presented earlier should rather be regarded as
demonstrative of a scientific approach to the issue through use of a
plausible example. Actually, the role of Intelligence officers and CIA
people may be integrated into at least a part of the logical analysis. The
isolation of the interrogation cell warders - even from their commander,
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, made them as a group an easy target for
manipulation by the intelligence staff. You should take into account that
these soldiers would be more or less dependent upon the intelligence staff
for most of their information on the prisoners, and this, combined with the
general dehumanizing propaganda of the "axis of evil" brand would serve as a
trigger for the cyclical development of the kind of fantastic cruelty of the
warders. Naturally the understandable docility of the prisoners - most of
them probably not hardened military personnel - would only serve to enhance
the warders objectification of the prisoners as a-human cattle who could be
ill-treated with impunity.
The more interesting problem here is explanation of the activities of the
Army Intelligence and CIA interrogators. The "soft method" for physically
softening up prisoners involves methods of exposing them to disorienting and
physically trying conditions that produce no apparent lasting medical
effects; sleeplessness, inteminable periods of standing with a hood over the
head, long periods of isolation, and so on. It appears (remember we only
know what they tell us) that the interogators were under fairly strict
orders not to exercise more damaging means for extracting information.
There are, for example, no marks of beatings, signs of limb dislocation
etc. on the prisoners bodies. Now, despite the sensitivity of Arab males
concerning their genitalia, the ridiculous treatment of naked prisoners
witnessed by the pictures appears to me to be more a method of dehumanizing
rather than of softening them up. I do really wonder what was intended by
the interrogators, extracting information or some other agenda known only to
themselves. Perhaps the promised investigations will clarify what was going
on there - that is if we ever get to see their results.
Rationality is not a fault, it's what we use to explain experience. To pose
the possibility of inherent evil is just the kind of demonization involved
in the cycles of violence and dehumanization we've been discussing.
-- ----- Original Message ----- From: "Judy Diamondstone" <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Sunday, May 02, 2004 11:18 PM Subject: RE: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> Victor, I think your explanation is rational, which may be its fault; you're > also missing a significant piece of the story reported in the media, which > is that U.S. intelligence officers were in charge of the prison and they > instructed (or just 'encouraged'?) the soldiers to "soften up" the prisoners > waiting for interrogation. In other words, those in power encouraged the use > of (that) power in the service of psychological and physical abuse. The > soldiers were reprieved from any moral responsibility; moreover, someone > evidently understood sexual mores for Arabic males -- and targeted their > genitalia. The eroticism associated with this sort of humiliation can't be > overlooked, even if it evokes extreme disgust from our (more rational) > perspective. The soldiers were having fun -- joissance. Isn't this something > different from the banality of evil? (just doing our job) and not merely an > exercise of revenge. >
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