The Faces of Torture

Warning: Disturbing Content

Wired magazine is running a front page story today from the Technology, Entertainment & Design conference out in Monterey, CA, an interview with psychologist Philip Zimbardo. The article includes some very disturbing images Zimbardo obtained while serving as an expert witness in one of the Abu Ghraib torture trials. His book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, explores how and why seemingly normal, honest people can do unspeakably horrible things with a smile on their faces.

He argues that the high-stress situation and institutional control of the thinking and environment of these guards undermines their basic human capacity for empathy, kindness, and mercy. I think he's probably right, but still, I can't help but be horrified, both at what happened to the victims, and what was done to these young Americans that transformed them from high-school kids going to football games and goofing off with Playstations into this.

We've seen it before:

and here, from World War II:

What a sad, sad world we live in. I cry when I realize that since then we've come no further in the protection of human rights, that the Geneva Conventions today nothing more than pieces of paper on which George Bush and Dick Cheney continually wipe their asses.

How can we ever dream of peace?

1 Comment:

  1. Diane said...
    Right the Fuck On.

    We once strove to become the highest part of ourselves as a nation, now it is like we clamor for the lowest predatory condition, Now Government-Sponsored with retinol and breath fresheners!

    Can no one see the Paradox, as your blog is so aptly named?

    I just blog rolled you & would love to have you cross post if you choose.

    nice essay!

    Diane W from The Wild Wild Left

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