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Lane, F.M. (1973). American Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVIII, 1971: Some Remarks on Slaughter. William Barry Gault. Pp. 450-454.. Psychoanal Q., 42:311-312.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVIII, 1971: Some Remarks on Slaughter. William Barry Gault. Pp. 450-454.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:311-312

American Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVIII, 1971: Some Remarks on Slaughter. William Barry Gault. Pp. 450-454.

Frederick M. Lane

Gault explores some factors involved in the slaughter of unarmed civilians by young soldiers in Vietnam. Essentially, they consist of phenomena enhanced by group interaction, which provoked the following intrapsychic shifts: 1, all objects beyond the soldier's own unit were perceived as potential aggressors, including children, elderly persons, etc.; 2, the enemy and all Orientals in the area were depersonalized and viewed as less than human; 3, perceived guilt was diluted via a 'shared', externalized superego that extended vertically up the ranks; 4, impulse behavior was encouraged by establishing a 'pressure to act' and by the disparagement of passivity, while the normal delay function of the ego was eliminated from the group ideal as much as possible; and 5, the impulse-ridden, antisocial character had a natural dominance in the group, especially under combat conditions where the psychopath is 'in his element'. Viewing the soldier's psyche structurally, one can infer that alterations may

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occur in the ego-superego-ego ideal equilibria which facilitate indiscriminate aggressive discharge in men formerly free of such behavior.

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Article Citation

Lane, F.M. (1973). American Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVIII, 1971. Psychoanal. Q., 42:311-312

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