The Failure of Empathy

American G.I., Alyssa Peterson, who committed suicide after refusing to torture Iraqi prisoners.

"The official probe of her death would later note that earlier she had been "reprimanded" for showing "empathy" for the prisoners. One of the most moving parts of the report, in fact, is this: "She said that she did not know how to be two people; she ... could not be one person in the cage and another outside the wire."" Full Story »

Posted by Dwight Rousu - via Thanh Tran (f)
Tags Help
Subjects: World, U.S., Living
Topics: War, War in Iraq
Member Tags: empathy, sociopathy
Editorial Help
Posted by: Posted by Dwight Rousu - Aug 17, 2009 - 10:49 PM PDT
Content Type: Article
Edit Lock: This story can be edited
Edited by: Beth Wellington - Aug 18, 2009 - 11:58 AM PDT

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Fabrice Florin
3.9
by Fabrice Florin - Aug. 20, 2009

Insightful post about the role of empathy in our society -- and how it can unite or divide people, as the cited suicide case shows. This short piece is informative and provides interesting views on how conservatives and liberals differ when it comes to empathy. Includes a couple thoughtful quotes by UC Berkeley Professor George Lakoff, from a paper about "Torture, Empathy and Democracy."

See Full Review » (11 answers)
Dwight Rousu
4.0
by Dwight Rousu - Aug. 17, 2009

This vignette provides a window to our humanity, or lack of it. Short and relevant.

See Full Review » (12 answers)
Patricia L'Herrou
4.0
by Patricia L'Herrou - Aug. 25, 2009

beth wellington makes here a compelling point about empathy. she uses quotes from george lakoff in firedoglake via a piece from huffinton post, then goes on to point out the connection between lack of empathy and sociopathy. altho the writer doesn't say this in so many words, in much of the political discourse today and for a number of years, it seems that empathy is in short supply

See Full Review » (9 answers)
Patricia Blochowiak
4.0
by Patricia Blochowiak - Aug. 25, 2009

How could showing empathy be a reason for reprimand? Reminds me of a comment about my med student attempts to explain to elderly women who had had extensive cancer surgeries how they were now connected. The oncologists thought I should just go home.

See Full Review » (17 answers)
Barry Grossheim
4.0
by Barry Grossheim - Aug. 18, 2009

Interesting questions that we would do to give serious consideration.

See Full Review » (6 answers)

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