The Situationist

The Justice Department, Milgram, & Torture

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 30, 2009

From Situationist friend Michael Cross, we received the following message regarding Tuesday night’s John Stewart interview of Cliff May on The Daily Show (below).

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In the beginning of the interview, May says that he doesn’t believe anyone in the current or previous administration was “pro-torture.”  He then explains that what have traditionally been called the “Torture Memos” are really “Anti-Torture Memos” because they draw lines regarding what are acceptable and unacceptable interrogation techniques.

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What is interesting from a Situational perspective is that he then describes the intent of these memos as to lay out a complex set of rules and requirements that are intended to prevent torture from occurring. What he fails to recognize is that the rules and requirements he has laid out are so complex that most people, given the pressures of, say, war, would find that they were met. What May seems to be saying, without knowing it, is that the Justice Department set up a Milgram experiment in which the stresses of war served as the man in the white lab-coat.

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Anyway, the interview is [posted above]. The relevant stuff is in the first few minutes; the remaining interview is just good, quality stuff.”

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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “ The Situation of Solitary Confinement,” Why Torture? Because It Feels Good (at least to “Us”),” “Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Tenet: ‘Guilty’,” “Law, Chicken Sexing, Torture Memo, and Situation Sense,”  and “Lessons Learned from the Abu Ghraib Horrors.”  To review a sizeable collection of Situationist posts about Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments, click here.

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2 Responses to “The Justice Department, Milgram, & Torture”

  1. [...] “The Justice Department, Milgram, & Torture,” [...]

  2. Ah yes, nicely put, everyone.

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