Friday, June 23, 2006

Iraq misdeeds no surprise

Near the beginninig of this article it says "The recent flurry of accusations against U.S. servicemen has stunned military analysts and experts."
If these people were experts, they wouldn't be surprised.

1) Previous studies have found that 95 percent of soldiers in active warfare showed psychological problems after 6 months of combat. The ones that didn't were those who were already sociopaths (aka psychopaths) with violent inclinations.

2) In role-playing studies, when groups were divided into "prisoners" and "guards", many of the guards immediately started behaving abusively towards the prisoners.

3) There are many cases of those in power in various settings abusing those they have power over, whether it be children, elderly people in nursing homes, prisoners, mentally ill, memtally retarded. It would be surprising if there were no people with abusive tendencies in the military. And I would expect that being abused in boot camp, while it might be necessary to inculcate needed military discipline (or might not be necessary, for all I know), would increase tendencies to abuse others.

4) As in other occupations where people have power over others, a certain proportion will be atracted to the occupation because they are abusive personalities. For people who don't understand logic, I will point out that I don't at all think that all or most people attracted to these occupations are abusive.

Not all experts are surprised.
John Pike, director of, a Washington-based military think tank says, “Anybody who contemplates a decision to use force, anybody who contemplates putting boots on the ground has to understand that part of what they’re assuming responsibility for is stressed-out soldiers are going to massacre civilians. It just comes with the territory.” Still, Pike said that even if true, the number of abuse cases isn’t shocking, given the number of troops and three-plus years of combat: “If this is the worst that the troops have done, the chain of command would appear to have done a pretty good job.”

Military commanders should know to expect such problems, and be pro-active in trying to prevent them. People who choose to be president and send our troops into battle have a duty to educate themselves about the realities of the situation.

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