PL100_Essay_22

PL100_Essay_22 - UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY"THE FALL OF...

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UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY “THE FALL OF THE WARRIOR KING” PL100: GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR LEADERS SECTION D11 MAJ ROBERT MEINE BY CADET LAUREN BECKLER ‘10, CO A3 WEST POINT, NEW YORK 24 APRIL 2007 ___ MY DOCUMENT IDENTIFIES ALL SOURCES USED AND ASSISTANCE RECEIVED IN COMPLETING THIS ASSIGNMENT. ___ NO SOURCES WERE USED OR ASSISTANCE RECEIVED IN COMPLETING THIS ASSIGNMENT. SIGNATURE:
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Beckler Three concepts relevant to the events which took place in Samarra, Iraq, in January, 2004 are prejudice, conformity, and obedience. The soldiers of the 1-8 Battalion were thrown into the violence of the Sunni Triangle, where distinguishing friend from foe proved to be a daunting task and, at the same time, it would have been easy for leadership to succumb to prejudice, conformity, and obedience. Nate Sassaman, a West Point graduate, was neither a weak leader, nor an immoral individual. Lt. Col. Sassaman and his men were put in a high-pressure, ambiguous situation and his actions reflect that. One of the biggest challenges the 1-8 Battalion faced was distinguishing enemy insurgents from innocent civilians. The first method they used was implementing a curfew. Their policy was “[a]nyone caught on the streets after the appointed hour was assumed to be a guerrilla. At the very least, any such person would be detained; if he acted aggressively, he would be killed” (Filkins 2). This strategy worked for a while. Soldiers used discretion in distinguishing friend from foe; however, distinguishing the enemy in the daytime proved to be more difficult. Sunnis, who fell victim to misplaced violence, became less fond of Americans and some even turned on them. Lt. Col. Sassaman and his men began to suffer the effects of discrimination. Discrimination involves “behaving differently, usually unfairly, toward members of a group” (Weiten 668). Because of the difficulty soldiers had distinguishing between insurgents and civilians, they treated everyone as an enemy in order to protect themselves. Sgt. Eric Brown was quoted the morning of a raid involving 15 innocent Iraqis saying, “"I feel bad for these people, I really do. It's so hard to separate the good from the bad" (Filkins 7). This type of discrimination is a product of ingroup versus outgroup. “People tend to evaluate outgroup members less favorably than ingroup member” (Weiten 670). The soldiers saw locals as all being a member of a group unlike themselves; they were all the same to the Americans. “The 2
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course PL 100 taught by Professor Meine during the Spring '08 term at West Point.

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PL100_Essay_22 - UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY"THE FALL OF...

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