Monday, January 12, 2015

On Hitting Dogs and Children . . . and Prisoners of War

The supposed aim of hitting dogs, children, and prisoners of war (POWs) is a change of behavior, which may include in the latter two the acquisition of information.

To be sure, change of behavior does result—cowering, rebellion, or a combination of the two.

The initiation of the use of physical force does not produce confident and loving dogs; confident, loving, and independent human adults; and accurate, reliable counterintelligence. The psychological principle is the same in all three cases. Talk, which means use reason, don’t hit. Advocates of torture, mostly Republican conservatives, seem to be the same ones who also have no qualms about kicking their helpless dogs or smacking their helpless children.

In the twenty-first century, considering what we know today about psychology, there is no excuse for the torture of incarcerated POWs.

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