“Toxic” officers/Israeli hit man asks for PTSD treatment

Changes necessary to find, remove bad leaders

The Army has a serious problem with toxic leaders. A new survey shows that soldiers rate 18 percent of their leaders as “bullies … tyrants … jerks” more interested in their own advancement than the welfare of the troops. A distinguished retired three-star, Lt. Gen. Walter Ulmer, estimated that roughly 8 percent to 12 percent of Army officers at the rank of colonel and higher “are so toxic that they need to be removed from command.”

That’s quite an indictment.

This problem, like so many others, is a byproduct of a decade of war that saw the force dedicated to developing combat skills, often at the expense of broader leadership abilities.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey [ . . .] wants leaders who earn the respect of subordinates and peers alike, rather than martinets and incompetents who hold authority only because they outrank everyone around them.

Such twisted chain of command is driving good troops out of the Army. So bad leaders not only are demoralizing, they are expensive.

http://www.armytimes.com/community/opinion/army-editorial-changes-necessary-to-find-remove-bad-leaders-080111w/

The word isn’t toxic, it’s sociopathic.  Give all officer candidates brain scans for possible sociopathy.  I understand that the military makes a big effort to weed out sociopaths from the enlisted ranks, as they should (though some slip by:  Steven Green who was discharged from the military “due to antisocial personality disorder but before the military was aware of the incident” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmudiyah_killings)).  They also need to take great care with their officers.

I am not saying that the majority of these “toxic” officers would be or have to be sociopathic.  That is not necessary for sociopaths to do the harm they do, though the sociopathic percentage would be much higher than in the general population.  My argument is that corruption, evil and the causes of human misery cannot be understood without taking sociopaths into account. Sociopathic mal-doers license, enable the non sociopathic corrupt and humiliated to emulate them.  They are the sharp end of the stick in war crimes and bullying.

For the record I’d like to state that while I am antiwar,  I am not anti-military.  Thus while I would not allow military recruiters in public high schools beyond posters and occasional presentations, I would require all colleges that accept federal money to have ROTC programs.  We want the officer class to reflect population in its diversity.  To the voices from my Quaker pacifist past that ask wouldn’t you like a world with no need of militaries, I say, of course I would, and I’m sure it will happen exactly the same moment that water starts flowing uphill right before it turns into wine.  If you want responsible, moral military leaders, such as those above, you cannot say to the officers corp don’t live in my neighborhood, don’t marry my daughters and expect an officer corp loyal to the people.

Meanwhile,

Israeli undercover agents boast of killing Palestinians on TV

Undercover Israeli intelligence officers appeared on national television Saturday to talk about assassinating Palestinians in a program broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10.

Oren Beaton presented a photo album of Palestinians he killed during his time as a commander of an undercover Israeli unit operating in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Beaton explained that he kept photos of his victims.

“This is a photo of a Palestinian young man called Basim Subeih who I killed. This is another young man. I shredded his body, and the photo shows the remnants of his body,” he said.

The TV program also featured an undercover agent referred to as “D”, who openly admitted killing “wanted Palestinians.”

He complained of suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and said that the state had rejected his demands for compensation.

NEWSFLASH TO THE UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:  YOU ARE NOT BOUND BY ORDERS FROM SOCIOPATHIC OFFICERS.  Its simple natural law, how can the soulless give orders to the souled?  Some might ask what that would do for military discipline — but that’s the wrong question.

continuing,

The agents, who speak fluent Arabic, are shown surrounded by masked Palestinian collaborators secretly deployed to the area to protect them.

The program provided previously unconfirmed details about the operational methods of undercover agents.

The report explained that officers conducted surveillance before an assassination, investigating the target’s friends and classmates.

Agents would even ask about the target’s favorite meals and habits at home, the report said.

In this way, agents would put together an image of the target’s behavior and routine.

Agent “D” said officers would then “seize the target and wait until the commander arrives to confirm his identity. Then we shoot him.”

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=397902

So how do they pick these enemies of Israel?  Are there dossiers of their actions against Israel or of their detailed realistic plans for harm?  Or are they merely guilty of having intelligence, spirit and/or leadership qualities?  Is it left up to the judgement of PTSD denying/damaged commanders?  Is it left up to the judgement of commanders who had gone insane while killing women and children in Gaza all the while screaming NEVER AGAIN!?  Israel claims the right to kill their enemies anywhere in the world.  How do they select these targets?

I’m afraid that Agent “D” has the wrong idea of treatment for PTSD.  It can not come from an outside medical intervention such as treatment for hemorrhoids or bacterial infection.  His only route is a deeply personal journey to the depths of choice, responsibility, guilt, and sin.  And what would motivate this journey?  His own misery — which should not be diminished by psychiatric drugs.

However, if a PTSD sufferer is in such straits that he (or she) is afraid to drive across bridges because he may slam on the brakes and jump off the bridge, no matter who is in the car, then he (and his caregiver) has a decision to make of whether to take psychiatric pharmaceuticals of not.  But basically, as far as I’m concerned, what psychiatric drugs do is to give time for “scar tissue of the soul” to form resulting in a lessened, less empathic person — which is not the aim.

The guilt ridden PTSD sufferer (PTSD is not the same as shell shock, but connected to the illegal, immoral wars since and including the Vietnam War and what that does to the war fighters) needs to make a journey of discovery to the truth.  The past is not going to change, his superiors are not going to change, the change will be in him.  He needs to mourn for failure, where he failed, to mourn for weakness, where he was weak, for impotence, where he was impotent (to affect events).  This last also explains the PTSD of reporters and onsite diplomats.  Those who witness crimes are also crime victims having been exposed to the betrayal of humanness, of the promise of humanity.

The PTSD sufferer will never go back to his previous life, that world is gone, but he will again be able to stride forward into the future with confidence and anticipation.  The sad, troubling memories will indeed visit him for time to time but will no longer own him or keep him in thrall.

Does he need a therapist or “treatment” (which is totally the wrong word)?  Yes and no.  A “soul witness” therapist, who understands the task is to witness the PTSD sufferer’s own journey, would be very helpful.  But a therapist who has no idea what that is would be worthless, actually worse than worthless.

Welcome to Antfarm World — sociopathic modality at the airports

(Image from website, National Opt-Out Day.)

This is not acceptable, THIS IS NOT NORMAL.  Sociopaths have no need of privacy, like little children playing with their privates in front the guests.  (For new visitors, this trait (primitive, undeveloped sexuality with privacy unnecessary) is simply an aspect of the devastating arrested development of sociopaths, the primary sociopathic throughline.)

I hate to think what’s ahead when some enterprising bomber shoves explosives up his *ss.

China and Israel do not do this, deeming it ineffective and against norms.  A serious terrorist would use the cargo hold I suppose, but let’s not mention that.  Or walk across the open borders.

In fact, these machines don’t detect the kind of powdered explosives used in January’s attempted underwear bomber attack!”  http://wewontfly.com/opt-out-day/

So if it’s not effective, what is the point? Constitutionally recognized natural rights?  Dignity for the ants in the antfarm?  I don’t think so.

The TSA does offer an alternative, a patdown palm face up with genital contact:

Flight Attendant Tells Her TSA Sexual Assault Story;
Traveler to TSA Agent: “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.”;  
Welcome to America — TSA Screener Accosts 3 Year Old Child at Security Checkpoint
;
New “(Enhanced Pat Downs) require screeners to touch passenger’s genitals”.

There seems to be a common reaction across the political divide:

Americans line up to join ‘no-fly’ list — Tolerance maxed out for TSA security’s voyeurism, molestation, radiation blasts

TSA Agent Sean Shanahan

Child rape charge rocks TSA.

Apparently the TSA also has a problem with sociopathic bullying in the workplace.  Small penis jokes lead to TSA worker beatdown, Rolando Negrin, TSA Worker Arrested, Assaulted Colleague Over Genital Joke.   I can almost hear that sociopathic “cackling jackass laugh.” Actually I have heard that laugh from non-sociopaths, usually the sons of sociopaths.

There is no doubt that actual sociopaths would be attracted to working for the TSA.  The TSA should brain scan all employees, from the most senior to the most junior, for sociopathic brain structures.

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What to do about school bullying

Easy.  Put the word out that bullies will be forced to undergo brain scans to determine if they are sociopathic or not.  The sociopaths’ involvement will dry up almost immediately.  Parents know if they if their child is a bully, but the last thing they want is for their child to bear the stigma of being an identified sociopath.  Few sociopaths are criminally insane, in the sense that they can’t help themselves.  Draw a line they don’t want to cross and they won’t cross it.  For those without that self control, reopen the mental hospitals.

Also for schools with repeated bullying problems, require that the principal undergo the same scan.  If sociopaths sense a sociopath at the top, they feel licensed.  I think child sociopaths would be similarly sensitive, if inarticulate regarding the situation.

I consider all corruption and evil to have two components — sociopathic and nonsociopathic.  Each component needs its own approach.  Also I believe handling the sociopathic corruption will automatically reduce the nonsociopathic corruption by removing that leadership.

We have the knowledge and the technology, why aren’t we using it?

“Courtroom First: Brain Scan Used in Murder Sentencing”

“A defendant’s fMRI brain scan has been used in court for what is believed to be the first time.

Brain scan evidence that the defense claimed shows the defendant’s brain was psychopathic was allowed into the sentencing portion of a murder trial in Chicago, Science reported Monday. Brian Dugan, who had been convicted of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old, was sentenced to death, despite the fMRI scans.”

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/11/brain-scan-murder-sentencing/

The intent of the defense was to claim that the defendant was not fully culpable due his psychopathyDid this strategy work?  Of course not. In the real world, do individuals ever forgive or absolve of responsibility their victimizers upon realizing the victimizer is a psychopath?  No.

fMRI Evidence Used in Murder Sentencing

Dugan exhibits the antisocial behavior, inpulsivity, lack of remorse, and other characteristics of psychopathy in spades, says Kent Kiehl, a neuroscientist at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and the Mind Research Network, who served as an expert witness for the defense. Dugan scored 37 out of 40 points on the standard diagnostic checklist for psychopathy, putting him in the 99.5th percentile, Kiehl says.

Kiehl conducts research on psychopathy in New Mexico state prisons in which he and colleagues collect life histories, anatomical brain scans, and fMRI scans of brain activity as inmates perform various tasks, including tests of moral reasoning. Using scanners at Northwestern University, Kiehl ran Dugan through a similar battery of tests. Kiehl testified that Dugan exhibited abnormalities similar to those he and others have reported in other psychopaths. Kiehl says he was careful not to stretch beyond what the data show. He didn’t claim, for example, that the brain scans prove that Dugan committed his crimes as a result of a brain abnormality. “It’s just one piece of evidence that his brain is different,” he says.

. . .

[from the comments] I think it would be easier to sentence such a total psychopath to death because he is missing an essential piece of whatever it is that makes us human.

http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/11/fmri-evidence-u.html.

I think that comment reflects the way people really think.

These legal strategists need to get out in the real world more.  Maybe take a Greyhound bus from Harrisburg, PA to Omaha, NE or just have beers at the corner bar more often.

Basically I like the idea of brain scans being brought into court — but for the exact opposite reason.  I think the psychopathic guilty would be found guilty more often than they are now.  And that they would be put away for longer sentences.  Juries would know that they weren’t dealing with daily reality.  I believe juries try very hard to walk in the shoes, place themselves in the position of the accused to try to understand the accused’s behavior.  But this assumes that the psyche they are trying to get into is similar to theirs.  This is simply not true for psychopaths.  Thus juries would have to think differently in approaching guilt and innocence in  trials of psychopaths — which I believe they could and should do.

Now obviously there could be a danger of such a situation being too prejudicial.  So this idea would need to be fine tuned, tried out with sample juries, etc. or confined to the most serious crimes or crimes with a high potential of psychopathic actors.  Perhaps it could be restricted to such felonies as pedophilia, child murder, rape and murder.

It would also open up the possibility of involuntary commitment of psychopathic individuals of danger to society, which would have different standards of evidence from a legal trial.  For example, the prolific serial killer Dr. Swango (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Swango) should have been incarcerated in a mental hospital years earlier than when he was eventually found guilty.

Michael Swango, M.D.

For some background info and links:  Neurolaw and Psychopath (http://lawneuro.typepad.com/the-law-and-neuroscience-blog/2009/08/neurolaw-and-psychopathy.html).   The Law and Neuroscience Blog seems to think that brain/genetic research on psychopaths will “change our perception of their moral and legal culpability.”  We shall see.  I predict the exact opposite.