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I must respectfully rebut your disagreement

Reader comment on item: Denying Islam's Role in Terror: Explaining the Denial
in response to reader comment: Good points, but I disagree with your conclusion

Submitted by Martin H. Katchen (United States), Mar 16, 2013 at 00:58

The Slate article does an excellent job of summarizing conservative objections to the idea of brainwashing. But they do so without offering a shred of evidence from the behavioral sciences. Gut level and philosophical disagreements are not a substitute for hard scientific evidence. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "There they go again".

We find ourselves attempting to categorically deny the existence of thought reform and end up like many in our armed services, attempting to minimize or deny the presence of PTSD in our servicemen. Because thought reform works by inducing the same sorts of stresses that create PTSD.

And let me reassure you. We do not have to forgive offenses that were committed while brainwashed. The Nazis were brainwashed and we did not let them off the hook. Nor were we shy about deprogramming German prisoners of war that we had in our custody , the Geneva Convention notwithstanding. Denazification, we called it. Whether we agree to allow people to claim diminished capacity for acts they committed while brainwashed, like any other crime depends on the severity of the act, the degree of cooperation offered after capture (can we deprogram or counterbrainwash the person) and the value of that cooperation, the same as with any other prosecutorial discretion (which as it turned out was how we handled our Korean War POWs and why we took our time bringing them home by ship, where psychologists like Edgar Schein, Robert Jay Lifton and Margaret Singer could interview them in depth and deprogram them. before they said the wrong things to the papers at a time when Joe Mc Carthy was saying the Army was infested with Communists).

I did not cite people like Benjamin Zaablocki just to prove my point. I cited his article "Misunderstanding Brainwashing" so that people on this blog would hopefully read his article as well as my comment. thought reform (to use the actual translation of the Chinese Communist term) is not used to induct people into cults. It's used to keep them in cults and to deepen their faith, which basically sums up Zablocki's point.

A classic and ongoing example of a thought reforming environment is an UNWRA Palestinian refugee camp. Palestinian "refugees" are kept behind barbed wire, in structured environments,, apparently based on whatever village they came from and indoctrinated by the UN in the idea that someday they will return to the land the Jews "stole" from them. They are of course, given little or no help in pursuing any alternatives in resettlement or getting on with their lives. But terrorist organizations, be they PFLP, Al Fatah or Hamas are free to recruit amongst them and take the indoctrination to higher levels, often to the level of suicide bombing. In these camps, the only real way to honor or prestige is as a terrorist guerilla fighter. (And this is funded by taxpayer's money). This is classic totalitarian brainwashing. And of course Pakistan's ISI learned from this when it developed the Taleban in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and nurtured it until the Taleban took on a life of it's own.

If we are still troubled by the idea of thought reform as a yardstick for looking at Islamism, we need to look harder at why we are troubled b y it.


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Reader comments (55) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
"Moderate Islam" as compared to..... What?? [95 words]Ron BlowerFeb 9, 2016 02:29227996
This Great Article Made Me Think That Guliani Should Have Made This Contrast Between His Recognizing Islamofascism and Obama being Blind To It [277 words]Mike ConlonNov 16, 2015 22:25226429
Picture worth 10,000 words? [1 words]JIMJFOXAug 9, 2015 12:40224626
Losing by intimidation [202 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
jdubowMar 17, 2015 20:34222403
... in denial- pun intended [60 words]JIMJFOXAug 9, 2015 12:52222403
2jihad [69 words]cavan edwardsApr 30, 2013 11:23205753
1Da nile, not just a river in Egypt. [44 words]LynnApr 28, 2013 09:21205701
Islam is not the enemy, Muslims are not the enemy, the WSTJ cult is the enemy of the West [50 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
AthosApr 26, 2013 02:27205630
You forgot Sirhan Sirhan [135 words]Wallace Edward BrandMay 7, 2013 01:40205630
1What message islamic terrorists are REALLY sending! [160 words]SteveMay 23, 2015 18:29205630
Disingenuous- Ironic, some?? [42 words]JIMJFOXAug 9, 2015 12:44205630
It needs to be monitored [187 words]john w. mcginleyApr 4, 2013 16:28204949
James Holmes of the Colorado massacre converted to the religion of peace! [39 words]dhimmi no moreMar 23, 2013 11:07204627
Islam & Islamism, one and the same. [19 words]Steven LMar 19, 2013 22:26204510
Denial Symptom [49 words]Clifford IshiiMar 19, 2013 20:50204505
1Denying Islam's role in Terror. Explaining the denial, rather the Obsession. [123 words]AnneMar 17, 2013 18:10204428
west,the terror of the world. [69 words]Muzaffar hussainJun 7, 2013 23:20204428
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1Denial by Making an Issue Abstract (about 'Hate' Speech) [275 words]Ron ThompsonMar 17, 2013 08:09204409
3Germany [68 words]ChristaMar 17, 2013 16:18204393
2Truth first, and then use the "shame" weapon [790 words]Mike C.Mar 16, 2013 14:00204387
1Can we reassert the right to scientific and scholarly criticism of ANY religion? [1020 words]Martin H. KatchenMar 15, 2013 20:49204377
1Good points, but I disagree with your conclusion [199 words]saraMar 15, 2013 21:10204377
I must respectfully rebut your disagreement [547 words]Martin H. KatchenMar 16, 2013 00:58204377
A voice of reason [13 words]LenoreMar 19, 2013 19:20204377
1Denying Islam's Role in Terror / Explaining the Denial [142 words]JudithMar 15, 2013 19:45204376
Excellent Review by Daniel Pipes [265 words]Carol CassadyMar 15, 2013 18:42204375
If you don't blame Islam, blame Asians [41 words]GamalielMar 15, 2013 18:39204374
So long as we look the other way... [182 words]NuritGMar 15, 2013 18:00204373
1A Different Suggestion on Why It Is So Very Hard to Get THE OBVIOUS Widely Accepted [1875 words]Ron ThompsonMar 15, 2013 13:41204366
Time to Stand-Up to Extremist Da'Wah and Jihadism! [225 words]GKMar 14, 2013 14:06204323
An idea [61 words]Kepha HorMar 13, 2013 21:18204306
1The terrorism that dares not speak its name [73 words]stuffagainMar 9, 2013 22:50204169
8Islam and terrorism [478 words]dhimmi no moreMar 9, 2013 08:07204144
Turkish Intelligence Recruits Al Nusra Terrorists to Fight in Syria [17 words]Young MCMar 10, 2013 09:27204144
The Turks and Jihadists fighting in Syria [120 words]dhimmi no moreMar 13, 2013 10:14204144
3Excellence [255 words]Tom DundeeMar 8, 2013 14:08204123
3They are not medical doctors [187 words]Y Brandstetter MDMar 7, 2013 06:03204087
I Agree With Your Intent, But Not Your Rationale [166 words]Tom DundeeMar 8, 2013 15:30204087
4When Islamists tell us the truth, can't we just listen? [331 words]JeffMar 5, 2013 13:01204051
why we listen and do not understand - aggression vs hostility [312 words]mythMar 6, 2013 06:57204051
2Dutch AIVD partly in denial [173 words]mythMar 5, 2013 04:59204046
3Our Government Has Forgotten Its Obligations [108 words]DaveMar 4, 2013 08:01204019
1Religion of Peace [45 words]Tom DundeeMar 8, 2013 15:12204019
7So who is really our enemy? [106 words]dhimmi no moreMar 4, 2013 07:29204017
9what is the nature of the Obama-moderates? [56 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
mythMar 3, 2013 19:33204006
9The elephant in the room! [131 words]dhimmi no moreMar 4, 2013 07:55204006
6moderate muslims [25 words]diana westMar 4, 2013 08:43204006
Excellence in Writing [102 words]Kevin SynnottMar 8, 2013 14:18204006
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response to moderate muslims by diana west [69 words]LilyApr 19, 2013 18:43204006
4Islamists have been given the license to kill [96 words]TomMar 3, 2013 19:14204004
6German "Verfassungsschutz" report a good read for US authorities [208 words]mythMar 3, 2013 18:19204003
2The agenda [42 words]BillMar 3, 2013 17:46204001

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