Posted by Peter W. Schramm
NBC has put out the full text of invetigation conducted by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba on the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners. I have only read into it; its pretty bad.
I also read the report. I think that this proves George Wills article to be right. Politics follows culture. A brief look at U.S. culture will quickly explain all of the serious abuses. Our culture, which is increasingly bereft of morals, is what has weakened Americas world politics. This report and the U.S. response will define the War on Terror. Right now the U.S. is taking a weak and apologetic approach that is sure to cost us the war if continued.
Look, re politics following culture: This is a long story, but if what you and Will assert is true than human decisions, human choices, are not possible. Marx and Hegel were right, in other words. This cannot be true. The human mind is created free...and although what you call culture, habit, ethics (even if cultivated) affects human beings, it doesnt create them. All huyman beings live in a culture (and create a culture), but they are not determined by culture; they are human beings by nature. Thats why we can say that some cultures are better than others. Will is wrong.
This is interesting. First of all, both respondents seem to have(at least implicitly) a definition of culture in mind. So, how do you define U.S. culture?
Secondly, Peters reply seems to have been typed in a hurry since the punctuation and grammatical errors make it difficult to discern the meaning he had in mind. Just what did you mean, Peter?
I agree that human individuals make choices. Each person chooses for themselves what road to follow. However, culture and politics are not individual; they are collective. Many different views are meshed together to form one "American" culture and "American" politics. What is American culture? I think it is much like an average in math. Each person has a different culture, (note the wide range of cultures in the U.S.) and they are all averaged together to make the collective thing we call "culture." So yes people do make individual choices. The individual choices change culture slowly because culture is a collective average. Does the collective culture shape collective politics, or is it the opposite? I side mostly with the idea that culture has the high ground.
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