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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Violence isn't all Arabs understand?

NPR: Fresh Air 2/14/11

One Man Says No To Harsh Interrogation Techniques

I didn't like all of what I heard, but a few things were interesting.

He said the stereotype that Arabs grew up with violence and that's all they understand or are capable of was prevalent in the military and this led to the use of torture. Prejudice leads to the use of torture- "it's all they understand"- and so you've got to address and change people's minds about Arabs in order to make laws against torture successful.

He mentioned a shift in an America that stands for principles vs one that stands for security. This is an interesting concept.

If you look at Israel, you can see the extreme version of this. He didn't mention Israel at all, but it holds very true to that situation. If you read how their military talks about and thinks about Arabs, you see that prejudice definitely leads to torture and lack of respect for human rights. Even among Israelis, and more often, foreign supporters of Israel, I have heard epithets and slander along the lines of those exact prejudices more times than I can count! And now we have an explanation for why they don't seem to care about Israel's human rights abuses and why security trumps all. The situation Israel finds itself in with Palestinians also demonstrates quite well Alexander's other point that standing for security rather than principles will erode those principles.

Food for thought.

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