13 August 2007

“I Wake Up Screaming—Vietnam and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”

An exerpt from “I Wake Up Screaming—Vietnam and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” by Lucian J. La Joie describing his experiences in Vietnam:

...A native village flooded during the monsoon season. Every year this village floods during the rainy season. An American would think, move the village to higher ground. To the native peasant Vietnamese, the ancestral homeland where the past generations are buried is one of the most precious, important possessions of life. This is one of the reasons that the Strategic Hamlet Program of the South Vietnamese government failed. Uprooting the peasant farmers from their homeland and keeping them in "protected enclaves" generated resentment between the peasants and the South Vietnamese Government.

At this particular village, the villagers were being evacuated by the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN). There was a shortage of boats to evacuate the villagers. Too many people, not enough boats. The ARVN were in charge of the operation. Our squad was assigned for extra security under operational control of the ARVN. The ARVN Captain said because of the shortage of boats the peasants could only bring one item as a carryon. One suitcase, one bag, one box, one only, no exceptions, one only.

A Vietnamese peasant woman shows up. Under one arm she has her baby about one year old. Under her other arm she had a small pig about fifteen inches long. The ARVN Captain stops her and says only one item as carryon. The peasant woman protests, arguing that the human baby is a live child and not a carryon. The ARVN Captain will not budge on his position. Only one carryon per person.

The peasant woman steps back and places her baby face down in the river and drowns it, holding the baby until it quits kicking and lets go of the baby's body and climbs into the boat with the pig under her arm. The peasant woman could always have another baby but she might not ever own another pig. That is how poor the peasants were.

Tears stream down the mother's face as she watches the small corpse float down the river. The ARVN Captain gloats and the Marines are getting pissed off. We are here to help these people, not to enforce a police state. The ARVN troops think what has just happened is funny.

After the baby's corpse floats down stream about fifty yards the ARVN troops use it as target practice, laughing all the while. I walk over to the ARVNs who are shooting and use my steel helmet and hit the ARVNs in the head and knock one of them unconscious. I sucker punch them with my helmet. The rest of the ARVNs point their weapons at me and, in response, all the marines point their weapons at the ARVNs. It is a Mexican standoff.

Here we are, supposed to be allies and we are pointing weapons at each other ready to shoot the shite out of each other. The ARVN Captain orders the u.s. Marines to lower their weapons because he outranks everybody. I tell the ARVN Captain he is a bad officer and marines do not take orders from bad officers. The ARVN Captain then orders the marines to provide security until the ARVNs had evacuated all the peasants. I tell the Captain ''F**k you, we're leaving! 'The marines promptly get into their boat and escort the boats of peasants that are already loaded in boats down the river.

Upon returning to our parent unit, Echo Company, I filed an after action report detailing the incident, including statements from those who witnessed the Vietnamization [i.e. “pornerization”] was in progress. The report was buried in the paperwork. Life is cheap in a war zone.

What can you say? You know it goes on. You know it is happening right now in Iraq. You know this is the attitude of the IDF to the Palestinians.

Rudy Giuliani on Freedom

From the Rocky Mountain Chronicle - RUDY! we get this quote from Rudy Giuliani on his vision of freedom:

"Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

04 August 2007

Psychopathic Bosses Get Promoted

In a Reuters article Bad bosses get promoted, not punished?: we learn that "In the study to be presented at a conference on management this weekend, almost two-thirds of the 240 participants in an online survey said the local workplace tyrant was either never censured or was promoted for domineering ways."

One of the study's authors, Anthony Don Erickson, Ben Shaw and Zha Agabe of Bond University in Australia, wrote that:

"The fact that 64.2 percent of the respondents indicated that either nothing at all or something positive happened to the bad leader is rather remarkable -remarkably disturbing."

It won't come as a shock to anyone who has worked in an American company. A large part of the frustration of workers in the US comes from facts like this. The corrupt, the cruel, and those without a sense of compassion rise to the top while people who treat others with curtesy, respect, and understanding fall to the bottom. It is explained away with rhetoric about needing to be lean and mean in "today's economy", about being loyal to the company -- as opposed to your fellow humans. These are examples of what Andrew Ɓobaczewski calls "paramoralisms", phrases that appear on the surface to appeal to our best instincts but which on analysis are found have a meaning that is exactly the opposite, that is, to cover-up and excuse the worst horrors under a blanket of righteous-sounding words:

Paramoralisms: The conviction that moral values exist and that some actions violate moral rules is so common and ancient a phenomenon that it seems to have some substratum at man’s instinctive endowment level (although it is certainly not totally adequate for moral truth), and that it does not only represent centuries’ of experience, culture, religion, and socialization. Thus, any insinuation framed in moral slogans is always suggestive, even if the “moral” criteria used are just an “ad hoc” invention. Any act can thus be proved to be immoral or moral by means of such paramoralisms utilized as active suggestion, and people whose minds will succumb to such reasoning can always be found.

In searching for an example of an evil act whose negative value would not elicit doubt in any social situation, ethics scholars frequently mention child abuse. However, psychologists often meet with paramoral affirmations of such behavior in their practice, such as in the above-mentioned family with the prefrontal field damage in the eldest sister. Her younger brothers emphatically insisted that their sister’s sadistic treatment of her son was due to her exceptionally high moral qualifications, and they believed this by auto-suggestion. Paramoralism somehow cunningly evades the control of our common sense, sometimes leading to acceptance or approval of behavior that is openly pathological.

Paramoralistic statements and suggestions so often accompany various kinds of evil that they seem quite irreplaceable. Unfortunately, it has become a frequent phenomenon for individuals, oppressive groups, or patho-political systems to invent ever-new moral criteria for someone’s convenience. Such suggestions often partially deprive people of their moral reasoning and deform its development in youngsters. Paramoralism factories have been founded worldwide, and a ponerologist finds it hard to believe that they are managed by psychologically normal people.

The conversive features in the genesis of paramoralisms seem to prove they are derived from mostly subconscious rejection (and repression from the field of consciousness) of something completely different, which we call the voice of conscience.

A ponerologist can nevertheless indicate many observations supporting the opinion that various pathological factors participate in the tendency to use paramoralisms. This was the case in the above-mentioned family. When it occurs with a moralizing interpretation, this tendency intensifies in egotists and hysterics, and its causes are similar. Like all conversive phenomena, the tendency to use paramoralisms is psychologically contagious. That explains why we observe it among people raised by individuals in whom it was developed alongside pathological factors.

This may be a good place to reflect that true moral law is born and exists independently of our judgments in this regard, and even of our ability to recognize it. Thus, the attitude required for such understanding is scientific, not creative: we must humbly subordinate our mind to the apprehended reality. That is when we discover the truth about man, both his weaknesses and values, which shows us what is decent and proper with respect to other people and other societies.

(Via Signs of the Times.)