What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Short Entry Today

Not much to report today -- my new column is up at CounterBias. If you have a few minutes, give it a read and let me know what you think. Check out the other columnists as well, I think you'll find a wide range of topics and opinions from some great writers.

Human Rights Violations

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced today findings of "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment of prisoners at a particular detention center. The country behind the human rights violations? The United States, in its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Tactics used on the detainees include subjecting the prisoner to severe temperatures; the use of loud music to deprive sleep; and forced nudity, among other tactics.

The Red Cross has charged the treatment of the prisoners violates international law. The U.S. government, of course, will brush off the charges, since the prisoners in Cuba are "detainees" and not prisoners of war. It's a good thing we set such a high moral example for the rest of the world to emulate.

A Pentagon spokesman denied the charges. Considering what happened at Abu Ghraib, I'm not ready to believe the Pentagon.

As comedian Yakov Smirnoff used to say, "What a country!"



Blogger apples said...

"The prison had become a living hell. Hidden behind their mirrored sunglasses, the guards asserted their total authority over the prisoners. They made the prisoners ask permission to do virtually anything, including going to the toilet. The guards conducted roll calls in the middle of the night to assert their power and disrupt the prisoners' sleep, and they forced prisoners to do push-ups, sometimes with their foot pushing down on the prisoner's back. For their part, the prisoners became increasingly passive and depressed. They hated the guards but were powerless against them. After a few days, one prisoner cracked emotionally. Soon another broke down. Before long, the demoralized prisoners became nothing more than what the guards expected them to be: piteous objects of scorn and abuse." (Passer & Smith, 2004)

This wasn't in a prison, this was in the basement of the psychology building at Stanford. A two week study of prison life had to be cut short after six days, after everything got more or less out of hand. The students were 'normal', well adjusted kids, half of them chosen to be prisoners, the other half guards. What was the reason this happened? There were probably many reasons but they all had to do with the setting they were in, the guards were supposed to be superior, they wore uniforms and sunglasses. They weren't Nick and Carl anymore, they were Guard and Prisoner.

I don't think it's that there's anything wrong with the soldiers or guards in these prisons, routines need to be altered, rules must be changed. Have we really come far enough to be able to withstand what our guts tell us? These guys did something bad, we can do anything we want to them. In a world where someone has to respect you no matter what you do, how do you deal with that?

I'm not defending anyone. Just trying to find a reason.

4:10 PM  

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