Saturday, May 27, 2006

Some reading and some vids

Kudos is due to Blogger Round Table, who is calling around and emailing friends for a community action. If you can do this, I would encourage you to check out the website and see if there's anything there that would interest you. There are also a few ideas on the Calendar. Blogger Round Table also has a nice fact sheet to read.

Raising Cain has a post up summarising the el-Masri case and his thoughts on it.

The Lady Speaks has a lovely Memorial Day tribute from the perspective of someone who grew up in a military family.

A Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens links to a Q&A session that was held on the Amnesty International (USA) website last month.

I'd also like to highlight our newest member, Two Babes and a Brain. It is run by Lisa and Chris, a Republican and a Democrat, respectively. Their blog is a fine example of how informal bipartisan dialogue can take place in a time when it is so desperately needed.

The Osterley Times links to online video of FRONTLINE's documentary The Torture Question. You'll need a browser that can run video within it.

While we're on the topic of videos, I'd also recommend the following link, which is the torrent file for the Stanley Milgram experiment: Download Torrent here (it's hard to get legitimate original copies). You can also find a good description of it on Wikipedia here.

This landmark experiment demonstrated that all of us have a tendency to obey authority. While this is usually a good thing, it can be misused. In this experiment, it was demonstrated that a large proportion of people would be willing to electrocute someone to death given the right conditions. Namely, when a person in a position of authority tells them to, and when they believe that it's for a higher purpose (in this case, science).

The important thing to remember here is that these were ordinary people like you and me. They were not psychopaths or sadists. Although it's unpleasant to admit it, the knowledge that we too are capable of this is a powerful tool towards a compassionate understanding of the position in which we have put the men and women who serve us. We have a responsibility to make sure that their instinct to trust and obey for the greater good will not be taken advantage of. And in cases where it has, we must not allow them to be thrown to the dogs while the responsible parties escape justice.

4 Comments:

Blogger Fred said...

Great idea to promote knowledge of that experiment. It's results not only show how easy it is for all of us to become "torturers", but also clearly implies that the leadership, the director is so enormously important. Thanks

2:33 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Sorry, fred is my alter ego - the correct name for the commenter is bbbustard, of http://bustardblog.typepad.com
Thanks again

2:36 PM  
Blogger elendil said...

I only wish I could have found a direct link to download the movie. Yes, I too believe it's important to understand that we all have this.

4:34 PM  
Blogger De said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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12:25 AM  

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