Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Commentary - - Brainwashing.

This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog by JS Bolton:

"I read that the brainwashing in the narrow sense was to be ascertained as having been successful, if the subject when freed after having made published 'confessions', still refused to recant them.

Applying this to McCain, say: has he fully recanted his published statements made in captivity, and would he do so today if required to answer on all the particulars which once were published?"

I think that McCain actually has in his military medical record a full psychological exam that was made AFTER he returned from captivity. And he did get a clean bill of health. I think this IS public and has been a subject of discussion? There WAS concern at the time that the American POW captured by the communists in Vietnam HAD BEEN mentally "messed with" in a manner as was seen in Korea?

The ordeal that American POW in Vietnam had to endure was NOT brainwashing in the classical sense as understood in the aftermath of the Korean War?

"Brainwashing (also known as thought reform or as re-education) consists of any effort aimed at instilling certain attitudes and beliefs in a person — beliefs sometimes unwelcome or in conflict with the person's prior beliefs and knowledge."

My impression is that the North Vietnamese/Viet Cong more than anything else wanted confessions, statements, acts of contrition for the international media to be played on televisions world-wide, the American audience being the primary target!! Confessions/statements/acts of contrition that were merely propaganda tools and nothing more!!

That is NOT to say that the communists did NOT recognize the practice of brainwashing and did apply the technique against American [and other nationalities too] POW in Korea. The communists would have readily admitted that their desire was NOT ONLY TO CONTROL THE BODY, THEY ALSO WANTED TO CONTROL THE MIND!!

Applying techniques [the "methods"] well honed with continuous practice on their own people [Soviet and Chinese communist].

"Chosen techniques included: dehumanizing of individuals by":

* "keeping them in filth" [this technique works well on Americans??!!]

* "sleep deprivation"

* "partial sensory deprivation"

* "psychological harassment"

* "inculcation of guilt"

* "group social pressure"

Coercive measures do work to the extent of getting individuals to make the statement or the confession, BUT do not work when the person leaves "the coercive environment".

"the end-result of such coercion remained very unstable, as most of the individuals reverted to their previous condition soon after they left the coercive environment."

"The Chinese did, however, succeed in getting some of the prisoners to make anti-American statements . . . psychiatrists noted that even these measures of coercion proved quite ineffective at changing basic attitudes for most people. In essence, the prisoners did not actually adopt Communist beliefs"

However, here from the book, "George Blake - - Double Agent".

"a portion of the men who expressed their detestation at the practice of brainwashing 'had gained the conviction that reforms of the social and economic system of the West was necessary.' The people had been aware 'of shortcomings in the Western democratic and capitalist system and the method by which they had been given this awareness produced delayed action results after they were released.'"

"'none [of the POW] emerged from the ordeal unscathed.'"

The ordeal in this specific case was the brainwashing conducted by communist forces against allied POW in Korea. Even those that apparently resisted and were successful in doing so nonetheless were effected in a major way by what happened to them!!

In the case of John McCain, I think we can rest easy.




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