"Why Not Everyone Is A Torturer" By Oliver Behrensdorff

1220 words 5 pages
Why Not Everyone Is A Torturer

- Oliver Behrensdorff

What are the causes of atrocity events such as the massacre at My Lai, the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib or the extermination of Jews during World War II? Whether groups of people bestowed with unaccountable power naturally resort to violence or not, the subject is indeed controversial. Arguably, the less restrictions that one must follow, the higher the risk becomes of one to condone violence. However, how can we explain war crimes and acts of torture? Is the most decisive factor leadership, group behavior, or culture? Psychologists Stephen Reicher and Alex Haslam assess this exact debate in the article “Why Not Everyone Is A Torturer”, and thus attempt to
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24) The article is in many ways persuasive. Author Stephen Reicher has set out to convince the reader that given some sort of competition, groups can become abusive. Reicher makes a claim that previous theories of torturous behavior are misleading or even false. He goes on to give evidence supporting his claims of why, in fact, torturous behavior is exhibited amongst certain groups of power. The author uses symbolism to represent his ideas, thus giving examples. Furthermore, he describes the internal and external conflict that can exist in these situations. Internal conflict is described as someone who is conflicted about their behavior but continues in a negative way with the intention of getting labeled as a good follower. External conflict is used to describe how the torturer behaves in comparison to societal norms. The sentences within the article follow a basic sentence structure and are organized differently throughout the entire article. Furthermore, they are manipulated in a way that adds life and drama to the piece. The article is cohesive; references and examples complement each other to create a profound reading experience. The pictures in the web article enhance the articles presentation by illustrating and clarifying the contentment of the text. The word choice is concise, “Sadly, 50 years