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Abu Ghraib: Our Surprise is the only Surprise
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 assure the world that the perpetrators are normal, caring, loving individuals without any prior sadistic or bullying traits.
As the picture of prisoner degradation develops, the only surprise is that we are surprised.
Where have the American people, the Military, the Security Agencies, the Administration, and the Media been hiding for the past 30 years?
Research in Social Psychology is rampant with experiments clearly demonstrating the 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 (the administration of electrical shock torture by non-pathological students (1974 and following), the dangers of placing untrained, well-meaning but naïve individuals into a system where the cues of social acceptability have been perverted, has been shown to lead to exactly that behavior which the world has been watching over the past few months.
The killer children of Golding's Lord of the Flies, the torturers of the Inquisition, the 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, pushed on the road to doom with a small first step, taught to dehumanize their victims in an atmosphere where responsibility is diffused, anonymity guaranteed, and the absolute need for obedience to gain the goal (information, safety of other soldiers, National Security) is demanded.
Under such extreme conditions, the behaviors exhibited by the Abu Ghraib MPs should have been completely expected. The Military and Governmental agencies involved have behavioral experts and 30 years of research at their fingertips. To anticipate what might occur, and to plan accordingly - ensuring that supervision was relentless, prohibitions against improper behaviors were clear and unambiguous, training provided, and readily-accessed mechanisms provided for reports of questionable activity - was the job of the Army, the Government, and the Administration, listening to their own psychological experts.
Courts-Martial of individual guards for their unacceptable and abhorrent behaviors are warranted to the extent that the individual always bears ultimate responsibility for their personal actions. However, the primary responsibility must fall on those who directed and developed a system almost guaranteed to produce those actions which have recently appalled all Americans and degraded our National image.
Not knowing the research, not reading long reports, not having the time to focus on a small area of an enormous task, does not excuse nor absolve of guilt. The top commanders are where the buck stops and where accountability truly lies.
Virginia Bola is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the results of cultural forces and employment on the individual. She is the author of an interactive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The worker's Edge. She can be reached at http://www.virginiabola.com
Intellectual Property: The ECJ Extends the Use of Trade Marks to Goods and Services
The European Court of Justice ("ECJ") ruled in Praktiker Bau- und Heimwerkermärkte (C 418/02) that a trade mark that is now in use by a company on its goods can be extended to cover the services provided by this company.A DIY retailer Praktiker Märkte, filed for registration with the Deutsches Patent und Markenamt (the German Patent and Trade Mark Office) of the mark PRAKTIKER in respect of the slogan 'retail trade in building, home improvement and gardening goods for the do-it-yourself sector.
The Contemporary Global Marketplace - IT, Software, and Services
"Had there not been outsourcing and utilization of cheaper resources offshore, average computer users would not have been able to afford the hardware and software that are available to them today." In this manner, author Robin Sood brushes aside superficial criticism of outsourcing and brings home to the reader of IT, Software and Services: Outsourcing and Offshoring two key points: outsourcing is already widely used and its positive effects go well beyond increased company profits.
Environmentalism and Roads in Our Forests
Many environmentalists are against roads through the forest because it could disrupt wildlife, hunting areas for other mammals. They also worry about the affect on all the species living there.
The "Manchurian Candidate": Lee Harvey Oswald?
An American soldier is taken behind enemy lines and brainwashed as an unwitting assassin by communists in league with American political figures. This soldier then returns to the States to kill a presidential candidate as part of a political scheme to escalate and exploit Cold War tensions.
Problems in the Media
I am noticing an increasing and alarming rate to which the media journalists in all forms use the media for public opinion and not for news. Whereas this is not all bad, it is bad when it is purported as news and not public opinion.
Screening Trucks and Containers Coming Into Our Country
We presently have adequate sniffer devices in this country to help us screen the trucks and containers coming into this country at our checkpoints and ports. Now we should be conducting massive recording of odors of trucking shipments and containers for database evaluations to insure that we do not unnecessarily impede the flow of trade or delay parts needed to run our economic powerhouse.
Intelligent Design - Why are the Intelligent So Afraid of It?
Why are intelligent people so afraid of the idea that the worlds may have been made by?intelligent design? Is it only a very un-intelligent fear that they may have been wrong? Is mighty science threatened? Or are they afraid that Science will be seen as the bully on the block who met up one night in a dark alley with a huge group of Bible thumping geeks.Perhaps evolutionists should accept a simple three point challenge to help identify their fears.
Feeling Squeezed by Political Correctness
I'm starting to feel squeezed by all the political correctness being imposed on us by both the Left and the Right. Both sides are constantly trying to infringe on our freedoms by telling us what we can and cannot say or do.
What Is The Filibuster All About?
The filibuster has been a tool available to U.S.
Truckers Take Some Hits and Keep On Trucking
After 9-11 insurance rates on Independent Truck Drivers and smaller trucking companies showed an average increase of over 30%. Larger trucking companies are generally self insured, however incessant lawsuits have also hurt them and caused higher self insurance funds causing decreased earnings and thus higher over all shipping rates to the consumer.
We Are Turning a Corner in Foreign Relations, Thanks GW Bush!
Kudos goes out to the George Walker Bush's Administration and long-term strategy in the world to take the high road in our foreign relations policy. Today we see relief donations coming in from around the world, why? Well because despite what you read in the newspapers about our Middle East efforts, it shows that we, America, is seen as a country with the right attitude and vision.
Wars, Oil and Trade Conflicts of the Human Race
Many in the World Media are quick to judge the Bush Administration on the War in Iraq; saying it's all about oil? Much of this is a slander campaign brought on by other world leaders who had interests in Iraq, deals with Saddam and we have all heard of the oil for food scandals. Let's face it if someone owes you money and you are doing business with them, you want to make sure the money keeps coming, the oil keeps flowing and no one messes up your lucrative deal.
Dole, Kemp, Trusting People
Many in the peanut gallery of society are so quick to attack the republican party, out of duty to their side of the sound and fury of human endeavor, however if you are really going to attack people without debating their concepts then in fact you are no better than those you condemn. I recommend to all that you look at both sides and see how similar we really all are.
911 Could Have Been Prevented, Was It Bush's Fault?
September 11, 2001 could have been prevented. We could have stopped that International Terrorist Act had we just employed a few simple tools.
Pierre Dupont de Nemours:After arranging the Armistice that ended or settled outstanding issues after the Revolutionary War Pierre Dupont de Nemours came to join the Royals including the Hapsburgs who were living near Jefferson and other esoteric Merovingians in and around Delaware. He and his family became important armaments manufacturers and it is reasonable to remember what Eisenhower said in his Military-Industrial Complex speech.
Environmentalists Often Complain About GM Crops
Maybe some of the people complaining ought to go to Africa and tell people to stop breeding like rats? Think of all the GM Crops can do for plastics, synthetic material and even for NASA since they are working with these R and D facilities to make organic materials with GM crops. All this special R and D is paid for by these companies due to the future promise of potential profits, but it is not without risk.
Let us Disband The FTC's Franchising Division
Previously Senator Dick Armey and his staff in 2000 to review seriously the important decision to scrutinize the FTC's franchising division. Mr.
Using More Trees to Reduce Atmospheric CO2
As global warming continues to escalate the concerns of today's scientists, the federal government has been spending millions in research in an attempt to reduce greenhouse emissions, the substance that has been credited with the increase in planet temperature since the beginning of the 20th century.Greenhouse gases---largely comprised of carbon dioxide--- is a product of burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal.
The Wage-Productivity Gap
The most damaging factor to our economy today is the Wage-Productivity gap. This refers to the increase in the hourly output of workers vs.
Al-Qaida has Nukes
Many believe Al-Qaida already has nukes in the United States and there is substantial reason to believe that they are nearly in place now. But how were they able to get them here in the first place? Thru our porous borders with Mexico, but did the International Terrorists have the bombs smuggled across Mexico border by MS-13 gangsters? An organization, which is growing at 200 new members per week with over an estimated 10,000 current members, sounds scary doesn't it? This is why Department of Homeland Security is so worried and you should be too.
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