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March 31, 2004

Man's Inhumanity To Man

Today the news was filled with reports of four American civilian contractors who were murdered in Iraq. Their cars were set on fire, and then their dead, charred bodies were dragged through Fallujah, dismembered, and finally hung on display from a bridge.

All of this happened to the cheers of Iraqi men, women and children alike. Children.

Obviously, you cannot judge an entire country by the acts of a handful of people. But I just cannot fathom how a person ... or even a group of people operating with a mob mentality ... could ever believe that such horrific, inhuman acts were reasonable. Even if you believed your country had been invaded, even if you believed that innocent countrymen had been killed by the invaders, even if you had been raised to believe that Americans are "evil" – how, how do you get to the point where you think it's acceptable to commit such vile, reprehensible acts?

But maybe that's just it. Maybe these are people who were raised in such a way, in such an environment, that ripping a dead person's body apart, beating it with poles, and hanging it like so much meat in a butcher shop isn't a deplorable act – it's just Wednesday.

It's that possibility, amidst all of the horror of this day, that truly breaks my heart.

Posted by Highwaygirl on March 31, 2004 08:54 PM to the category Current Affairs

In late 2000 or early 2001, two Israeli reserve soldiers were on their way to reserve duty in the West Bank. They took a wrong turn, and ended up in the middle of a Palestinian town. They were "arrested" by the Palestinian authority and brought to the local police station. A mob "broke in" to the station, and they were tortured and killed. Then one of the bodies was thrown out of the second floor window, hitting a tree on his way to the ground. One of the culprits then waved at the crowd with bloody hands.

I use quotes, because the PA police were part of the mob.

All of this was captured on tape by an Italian news reporter, which means his wife and children now have a record of his mutilated body being tossed out a window.

Posted by: rappy at April 1, 2004 12:15 PM

Read this book to learn about the objectification of people... http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0679772685/qid=1080845638/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-6486770-2959924?v=glance&s=books

I had Daniel Goldhagen's father as a professor at Harvard and we learned just how easy it is to get people into the killing mindset.

Chilling stuff.

Posted by: Phildozer at April 1, 2004 01:54 PM

Sadly, this latest news is hardly even a blip on the man's inhumanity screen. All manner of executions, tortures, murders, rapes, and bombings have been gleefully applauded or even participated in throughout history. In fact, I heard Adam gave Cain an "ataboy" when he first heard about Abel. The rule appears to be that so long as it's "one of them" who's being hurt or killed, waving giant foam fingers and doing the wave is perfectly normal.

Posted by: overg at April 1, 2004 04:24 PM
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