Book Review: Human Killing Machines -- Systematic Indoctrination in Iran, Nazi Germany, Al Qaeda, and Abu Ghraib
The Homeland Security Review, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Summer 2009)
14 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2015 Last revised: 23 Jul 2015
Date Written: Summer 2009
Adam Lankford, an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama published this provocatively interesting book to describe how ordinary members of society can become conditioned and indoctrinated to commit acts of violence without moral reflection or hesitation. Lankford posits a recurrent six-component strategy of such conditioning and indoctrination in the clinical and real-life settings through recruitment, training, authorization, bureaucracy, isolation, and dehumanization. While his comparisons and contrasts of the infamous Milgram and Zimbardo experiments to the real world brutality in Nazi Germany, Al Qaeda, modern Iran and Abu Ghraib are not an exhaustive chronicling of conditioned "violence on command," his templated theory on licit (and illicit) abuse and killing carries through each of the nine chapters in a comparatively concise and engaging one hundred and eighty-seven pages.
Keywords: Killing, Law Enforcement, War, National Security, Iran, Nazi Germany, Al Qaeda, Abu Ghraib, Torture, Corrections, Violence
JEL Classification: K14, H56, O15, J70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation