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Integrity Deficit Award: U.S. Military Trainers Legitimize Moral Relativism

Integrity Deficit Award: U.S. Military Trainers Legitimize Moral Relativism

by Dr. David Gruder

According to The New York Times on July 2, 2008, military trainers who went to Guantanamo Bay to train personnel in interrogation tactics taught their entire class around Chinese communist tactics from the 1950s that were denounced as torture and were determined to have produced false confessions from American service men.

The material used was first published in an article entitled, “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War,” written by Alfred D. Biderman, a sociologist who worked for the Air Force and how had interviewed American prisoners returning from North Korea, some of whom had been filmed by their Chinese interrogators confessing to germ warfare and other atrocities.

The New York Times article reported that "those orchestrated confessions led to allegations that the American prisoners had been ‘brainwashed,’ and provoked the [U.S.] military to revamp its training to give some military personnel a taste of the enemies’ harsh methods to inoculate them against quick capitulation if captured."

The American military’s use in Guantanamo of an interrogation tactic that was determined to have been a form of torture that elicited false confessions by American’s held as military prisoners by China is an example of what is called "moral relativism." According to Wikipedia, moral relativists hold that no universal standard exists by which to assess an ethical proposition’s truth. Moral relativism differs from moral pluralism — which acknowledges the co-existence of opposing ideas and practices, but accepts limits to differences, such as when vital human needs are violated.

In my two-award-winning book on integrity intelligence, The New IQ, I set forth universal principles about integrity and universal life skills for integrity development. I therefore categorically reject the concept of moral relativism.

Most political conservatives in the United States are vehemently opposed to the idea of moral relativism. They hold to a philosophy that says there are certain ethical truths that are universal and that anyone who doesn’t see this must have severe ethics problems. The most fanatical of these conservatives accuse "liberals" of being responsible for damaging our culture’s morals with their alleged support of moral relativism. As a political independent and non-partisan integrity analyst, I categorically reject this accusation as well.

Instead, we see in today’s integrity deficit example the United States military itself having set a new low in role-modeling the moral relativism philosophy. A particularly dangerous result of a moral relativism stance is an attitude that "the ends justify the means." I suspect that this is precisely the delusional attitude that led the United States to teach to Guantanamo interrogation personnel the very tactics that the U.S government so loudly and rightly decried when the Chinese communists used them against American service men.

For this profound integrity deficit, I have awarded the United States military trainers who trained Guantanamo interrogation personnel in these tactics beginning in 2002 — and the military (and perhaps political) leaders who sent them there — an Integrity Deficit Award for July 2, 2008.

I am particularly saddened that this comes so close to July 4, American Independence Day, on which Americans not only the birth of the United States but the birth of a constitution that was supposed to be the light of the world.

You can read the New York Times article in full via this link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/us/02detain.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

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