It’s hard to read the details of the Brereton report and not reach the conclusion that there are psychopaths in the Australian military. As one soldier put it: “Psychos. Absolute psychos. And we bred them.”
None of the killings took place in the heat of battle, and they all occurred in circumstances which, if accepted by a jury, would constitute the war crime of murder.
All the victims were either non-combatants or were no longer combatants.Evidence suggests junior soldiers were instructed by their superiors to execute prisoners in cold blood as part of a “blooding” process to give them their first kill.
“Typically, the patrol commander would take a person under control and the junior member … would then be directed to kill the person under control,” the report found. “‘Throwdowns’ would be placed with the body and a ‘cover story’ was created for the purposes of operational reporting and to deflect scrutiny.”
Unsurprisingly, the report “absolves senior command of blame or knowledge that war crimes were being committed”. However I think it’s fair to argue that the culture of an organisation is the responsibility of its leadership. To say “we didn’t know what was going on in our own military” should be completely unacceptable.
“A culture of the pursuit of profit at all costs”, how the former chairman of the NSW gambling regulator has described Crown Casino, sounds like a symptom of a psychopathic culture. In the book we talk about how psychopathic leadership can create psychopathic organisational cultures, whether that organisation is a business or an entire country. Look at the 66 million people in the United States who voted this week for Donald Trump as an example of how a large chunk of a country can easily be swept along with psychopathic values like putting the economy ahead of the safety of the population.
“Just to say Trump is “unfit” and “dangerous” is not enough and the public will not understand. We need to tie his psychopathology to his presidential behavior in the observable, in the concrete. [In my view], his pandemic response and his attack on democracy are where his psychopathology is evident.”
Alan D. Blotcky, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Birmingham, Alabama (source)
While Trump might be the most prominent potential psychopath in the world today, I still believe the bigger issue we have to face isn’t one man, but the system that allows psychopaths to hold extreme power and wealth. Trump is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem.