Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Guantanamo suicides


Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey said Guantanamo has become a political problem for the United States.
" This was an act of political warfare by the three people that committed suicide, the same as a suicide bomber in downtown Baghdad."

Colleen Graffy, deputy assistant U.S. secretary of state for public diplomacy, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the suicides at the U.S.-run camp in Cuba were a “good P.R. move to draw attention” and “a tactic to further the jihadi cause.”

Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris, the camp commander at Guantanamo, told reporters Sunday that the detainees “have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own.” “I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us,” Harris said.

I would like to say these people are warped and crazy, but unfortunately, humans have a tendency to believe that that other racial or ethnic groups are different from one's own. But even at that, these statements seem to me to be unexcusable for people at their level of responsibility. With leaders like this, no wonder some of our troups have committed atrocities.

It should not be hard for us to understand that being imprisoned for 4 years with no end in sight, w/o trial, under the conditions at Guantanamo would drive some people to despair. It sure would me!

A few years ago, one of the weekly news magazines (I think it was Time), had an article which tried to find ways to define "consciousness" so that humans have it and animals don't. It was really amusing, because my observations are that many humans don't exhibit the conditions that were supposedly needed to show that one has a consciousness, while animals sometimes show these traits. One of these traits is empathy. It is my observation that even normal people are often/usually/?always not capable of empathy for a situation that they have not experienced themselves. Now, this is not really surprising. But many people show little if any empathy even for situations they themselves have experienced. We all feel we are exceptional.

If empathy is a requirement for consiousness, what about people who aren't able to feel empathy - eg., people with narcissistic personality disorder, sociopaths (also known as psychopaths).

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