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View Diary: Interrogator who Located Zarqawi Rips U.S. Torture Policy (224 comments)

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  •  The legions of abused and neglected (28+ / 0-)

    children in America are testament to the fact that torture, a lesser offense than murder (execution), is endemic to American society.

    Why?

    I'd say it's because lots of Americans are cowards and because it seems to be human nature for people to do to others what was done to them.

    Cowardice and triangulation are self-re-enforcing and self-perpetuating.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 04:16:28 AM PST

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    •  Cowards? (12+ / 0-)

      Not really. The more I see of human nature the more convinced I am that torture, violence, and similar deviancies are inherent to human nature. Hobbes was right - man is not inherently good, quite the opposite, as a matter of fact... It is society which, ah, symbolically castrates a human, making him a moral and, more importantly, a functioning member of society

      Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

      by Dauphin on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 04:20:24 AM PST

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      •  Bush/Cheney would agree with you. (9+ / 0-)

        That's why they feel entitled to bash whoever resists doing what they tell them.

        The prejudice that "all men are created evil" is a pre-requisite to the assertion that it is the purpose of the state to make them good.  Of course, if religious persuasion works, then the secular state needs to do much less and government can be smaller and cheaper.  And that's the conservative rubric in a nut-shell.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 04:41:53 AM PST

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        •  The government? No. (6+ / 0-)

          But men, while they might not be created evil, are definitely not created good. Look at what you end up with if you do not socialise someone: Wolf-children, people who act like animals. Without society we are beasts, period. Rousseau's noble savage is a dream.

          And a state cannot make men good. It's also composed of people who are not altruistic, to put it mildly. What it can do is create a tolerable society. But no society has so far existed without repression in one form or another. The same goes for religion. Man may be cultivated, but completely reformed... no, never.

          Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

          by Dauphin on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 05:07:40 AM PST

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          •  Do you not think that man is mostly a (0+ / 0-)

            tabula rasa upon which is stamped the mark of the society in which we find ourselves?

            All past known societies have had violence as an element, but that element is different in degree & quality in each.

            If violence can be softened, redirected, & postponed, why then could it not be effectively eradicated by a society that chose to do so?

            Obama '08 - keep hope alive

            by catilinus on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 05:26:12 PM PST

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            •  Good question. (0+ / 0-)

              Perhaps we should note that humans are predators, omnivorous predators. Much of the aggressive behavior we're talking about is predator in nature.

              "We are all created equal" is a political statement and is talking about political and social agreements and the resulting behavior.

              It is obvious the first statement is part of the tabula raza, that we are a very aggressive organisms and we employ most every means of aggression known to exist. Then we get the imprint of our caretakers.

              Might makes right is all too often one of the first lessons we learn. Not always, but in much of this old world the weakest and the most dependent get abused. At the core of some of this behavior we're seeing with regard to torture is tied to child abuse, a generational disease but one which can crop up in any generation. I know personally of one such case of the generational variety that goes all the way back to Civil War days. The good news was that the death bed confession also marked the end of that cycle.

              To fulfill the imperative of the those words All people are created Equal requires a powerful structure and reinforcement.

              Presently, we obviously predate upon ourselves economically but also in so many other ways. The thrust of our world economic stance is neoliberal and predatory. Bush and Cheney are outright predators. Conservatives only appeal to our better nature to get votes, not in governance.

              We'd be a lot better off naming this predatory behavior as a cause, for that fits with the nature of our laws.

              And the answer to the question is yes, we can mitigate a great deal of our violence. I don't know that we've really aimed in the modern era, with monied and military elements always angling for more power and growth, to fulfill such a specific goal. We say peace but do something different.

              "But their gift is an empty snake, Carrying hypocrisy in its mouth like venom" - Sami Al Hajj

              by walkshills on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 08:41:07 PM PST

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        •  ... and I would go so far as to say that (4+ / 0-)

          every religious-based ethical viewpoint will be coloured - tainted, if you will - by an individual's ethical viewpoint. The Catholic God is a far different beast than Luther's or Calvin's God. The Catholic view of God is coloured by teir view of society, just as Luther's God is, and just as Calvin's dark deity is coloured by Calvin's predjudices.

          Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

          by Dauphin on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 05:14:19 AM PST

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      •  The Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram (4+ / 0-)

        Experiment showed we are all capable of torture.  The issue would seem to be accepting that knowledge and generating some institutional motivation to not do so.  Not sure what that might be, though.

        Stanford:

        http://www.prisonexp.org/

        Milgram:

        Synopsis:

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/...

        Video:

        http://video.google.com/...

        "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

        by Terra Mystica on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 08:59:36 AM PST

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    •  not so much cowards, as lazy, I'd say... (6+ / 0-)

      I don't buy the "fear" part of the explanation about the post-9/11 reaction; "revenge" or "vengenance" seems more accurate to me.  I've always believed that when folks are emotionally charged like that, they are primarily unwilling to do the hard emotional and intellectual labor of working through the immediate responses that a shocking experience gives rise to.  

      What this period of our history has revealed to me is that we are, collectively at least, morally lazy, not necessarily hard-wired toward evil.  Lazy is an apt description of the Bush-Cheney Administration on many levels.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 06:22:38 AM PST

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      •  yes, revenge... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ibonewits, linkage

        at least as far as capital punishment goes, anyway. I'm strongly against capital punishment, but I'll be the first to admit that there are people in this world who do such horrible things that a part of me wants to see some kind of suffering inflicted on them. The better part of me says that this is wrong; that especially we, as a society, do not have that kind of right.

        And of course, I don't condone anyone taking vengeance into their own hands. BUT... there are cases where I'd be very sympathetic to someone who did. I'm thinking in particular of a case in this area years ago where a man accused of torturing and murdering a woman was found not guilty by the jury, under some unusual circumstances, and then it was proven beyond any doubt a few years later that he was guilty - but double-jeopardy laws of course kept him from being imprisoned for the crimes. (He did end up doing some time for perjury and civil rights violations, IIRC.)

        If the two brothers of the victim had hunted this scumbag down and beaten him to death, I would want to see them suffer the least punishment possible under our system, while still being held accountable for what definitely would be a crime. If I'd been in their shoes, I'm sure I'd feel that way, but if I did something like that I'd also expect to have to be held accountable by society and the law.

        Society, however, has no right to seek revenge.

        -8.25, -6.26 If you still have "PTA president" on your resume, you shouldn't be "a heartbeat away" from any presidency, except maybe the Rotary Club.

        by snookybeh on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 08:04:52 AM PST

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      •  That's why Bin Laden slapped the Pentagon (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevelu, linkage

        in the face.

        It wasn't enough to "just" take down a couple of buildings in NYC.

        Bin Laden went for the guarantee.

        <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

        by bronte17 on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 10:48:34 AM PST

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