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I. Invitation to Cuba

II. The Psychology of Terrorists

III. Drexel University

IV. November 8, 2006

V. The Psychology of Captivity

VI. The Psychology of Prisons

VII. The Psychology of War

VIII. Preparations

IX. 1934

X. November 13, 2006

XI. Takeoff

XII. In The Air

XIII. Arrival at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

XIV. Briefing at Headquarters of the Joint Task Force

XV. Lunch

XVI. Guard Duty

XVII. Camp Delta

XVIII. Medical Treatment

XIX. Behavioral Services

XX. Camp 5

XXI. Departure from Guantanamo Bay

The Legitimacy of GTMO: An Eyewitness Report, Page 7

A Travel Journal by Dr. Eric A. Zillmer
Pacifico Professor of Psychology at Drexel University

The Psychology of War
November 10, 2006 (The Union League, Philadelphia)

Over the last decades the nature of military engagement has changed significantly. This is related to the military and political, as well as psychological complexities, observed during the transformation in the geopolitical climate and the role of the U.S. military after the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War. In addition, the most recent terrorist attacks and threats of chemical and biological warfare have brought a new perspective on the war on terrorism (i.e., Afghanistan and Iraq). As a result there has been a demand for the development of an increasingly mobile and modern military, and efforts on understanding terrorist motivation, that is, to get inside the “enemies head.”

I am having lunch at the Union League in Philadelphia in observation of Veterans Day. The Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, four-star General Peter J. Schoomaker, delivers today’s leadership lecture.

“There is no more dangerous time in the history of our nation than today,” the general announces with conviction. “The MI5, the counter-intelligence agency of the British Government, is tracking over 1,500 terrorists operating in 200 terrorist cells worldwide,” he adds.

Is this possibly true? And if yes, how can there be such a disconnection between our daily docile lives in the U.S. and the fact that we are at war with a formidable enemy. General Schoomaker’s threat assessment is, I believe, at the heart of the controversy that symbolizes GTMO. For those who deem that we are living in the most dangerous of times and that terrorists are capable of proliferating nuclear weapons, then the actions of detaining enemies during a time of war would appear justifiable, even logical. For those who are skeptical, who believe that the insurgents fighting in Iraq are nationalists defending their country, then the simple existence of GTMO is a violation of the laws that govern our democracy. The influence of American power on those it keeps captive at GTMO would then appear to be questionable.