ABU GHRAIB: Our Surprise is the only Surprise

Written by Virginia Bola, PsyD

As pictures and videos surface showing young American soldiers humiliating and dehumanizing Iraqi prisoners, we, as a society, recoil in disgust and disbelief. Friends and family of those charged with such crimes, shake their heads in bewilderment and assurerepparttar world thatrepparttar 132351 perpetrators are normal, caring, loving individuals without any prior sadistic or bullying traits.

Asrepparttar 132352 picture of prisoner degradation develops, and spreads,repparttar 132353 only surprise is that we are surprised.

Where haverepparttar 132354 American people,repparttar 132355 Military,repparttar 132356 Security Agencies,repparttar 132357 Administration, andrepparttar 132358 Media been hiding forrepparttar 132359 past 30 years?

Research in Social Psychology is rampant with experiments clearly demonstratingrepparttar 132360 impact of situational influence on behavior. From Zimbardo’s famous prison experiments at Stanford University (1971) and Milgram’s extensive body of work on obedience based onrepparttar 132361 administration of electrical shock torture by non-pathological students (1974 and following),repparttar 132362 dangers of placing untrained, well-meaning but naïve individuals into a system whererepparttar 132363 cues of social acceptability have been perverted, has been shown to lead to exactly that behavior whichrepparttar 132364 world has been watching overrepparttar 132365 past few weeks.

The killer children of Golding’s Lord ofrepparttar 132366 Flies,repparttar 132367 torturers ofrepparttar 132368 Inquisition,repparttar 132369 Jew killers of Reserve Battalion 101 (Browning, 1993), are not inherently evil people, somehow different from you and I. They ARE us – placed into an intolerable, stress-laden pressure cooker where daily norms no longer apply. Systematically, they are praised and rewarded for aberrant behaviors, started onrepparttar 132370 road to doom with a small step, victims are dehumanized, responsibility is diffused, anonymity guaranteed, andrepparttar 132371 absolute need for obedience to gainrepparttar 132372 goal (information, safety of other soldiers, National Security) is demanded.


Written by Davood Nasiri

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
ImproveHomeLife.com © 2005
Terms of Use