Wednesday May 5, 2004

Torture and why I'm not surprised

Category: Opinionated | 5 Comments | Posted 14:57

Ja so here's my Torture entry... not about the Jacksons song but about what has been happening in Iraq. There has been this huge worldwide outcry with everyone acting all shocked and surprised, and I'm just like, uh yeah!? That's what happens eh.

And quite fittingly, as I went to the BBC News site to find a link for the Iraq thing, I found this linked from the main page: Is it in anyone to abuse a captive? Aaand the first person the article quotes is Philip Zimbardo, whom attentive ClarissaBlog readers (haha) may remember as the initiator of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Lesson learnt there: people tend to become sadistic when they are in a position of power and these situations quickly develop their own dynamics, esp. under the influence of peer pressure. Interesting also the Milgram experiment about obedience and the effect of authority.

So: is it surprising to hear about the cases of torture, and the (daily increasing) extent of it? Of course it's shocking, esp. the cynicism of seeing the same behaviour repeated in the very torture cellars where Saddam's regime had raged for so long. But it certainly isn't surprising. The fact that these soldiers' behaviour is not seen as legitimate by their regime has little influence on the concrete situation on site, which follows its own rules.

Incidentally, just a few weeks ago I came across the investigations of local paper Toledo Blade about the atrocities committed by an elite fighting unit in Vietnam. Same thing, different war. It's definitely interesting to read what those involved in those events have to say (if you have a few spare hours). The authors got the Pulitzer prize for their report btw.


first time I heard about it was on a norwegian newschannel. I was, as you said, shocked. I was curious on how cnn reported this, so I turned on cnn, thinking it might be all over the news there. Nothing! Checked there website. Nothing.


Two days later, after I heard it, cnn had the guts to report it. Though I have lost respect from cnn years ago (especially after how they have reported the war in Iraq) But I was more surprised why it took them so long to report it. You have the pictures. What more proof do they need? This can turn ugly and become an whole other topic, but I miss my BBCworld. It's gone somehow. So whenever there's something happening in the world, I have to rely on cnn. See my dilemma? :(

Posted by: tris at Wed May 5, 2004 18:54

You have the Internet

Posted by: Clarissa at Wed May 5, 2004 21:35

lol yes, but sometimes you want to watch tv too;)

Posted by: tris at Wed May 5, 2004 21:55

my superiors tortured me on tuesday. They made me walk for 3 hours in rain and then put up a tent in rain, and then do lots of other stuff in rain and then sleep in wet tent with 6 other people in rain... and so on.

Posted by: private d at Thu May 6, 2004 15:28

poor d

Posted by: Clarissa at Thu May 6, 2004 15:54