[Marxism] Forwarded from Dick Osborne

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 6 15:47:44 MDT 2004

(Dick is an alumnus of both Harvard and the SWP.)

I haven't read the [Michael] Ignatieff article yet but your account of it 
certainly doesn't surprise me. He is just the latest of the many "pimps for 
Imperialism" as you call them going back to Kissinger, Richard Pipes (and 
now son Daniel), Samuel Huntington etc. etc. that my alma mater has 
spawned. But Ignatieff's pose as a champion of human rights while he has 
morphed into a shrewd apologist for the neo-con agenda, is particularly 

The attempt to justify sleep deprivation and other forms of abuse as 
tactically necessary in the war on terrorism is a fraud. As we've recently 
seen in the Iraq prison abuse scandals, all it takes is the vaguest green 
light and invitation to "soften up" prisoners and process of dehumanizing 
and degrading them begins and easily snow balls. Speaking as a 
psychologist, one of the reasons is that, unfortunately, abuse and torture 
is powerfully arousing and addictive for the abusers. They get high on it, 
love the power, get even for all their pent up personal wounds and 
grievances on these convenient and powerless scapegoats. The protests, 
cries, and begging of those who are tortured just enflames their tormentors 
who project whatever feelings shame they have onto their victims and then 
want to dominate and degrade them even more. And just as with a drug addict 
who starts by snorting a little heroin, it easily progresses to a desire 
for a stronger and stronger fix -- in this case, the arousing fix of 
sadistic pleasure that the torturers experience. That's why in those 
pictures you see all that gloating and smiling. They're having fun. And 
don't think that that's because they are "monsters" or unusually twisted 
individuals. They were probably pretty average and normal before they got 
into it --just like many of Germans, Poles, Croatians etc. who got caught 
up in the Nazi death squads. It is a slippery slope and Ignatieff's 
argument for limited "controlled" torture to extract information is pure 
fantasy and apologetics.

Thanks also for your review of the film on schizophrenia -- sounds 
interesting; I just hope it makes it to out local art house in Albany.

Dick Osborne

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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