Letters to the Editors: The War in Iraq

Dunn, M., 2003. Letters to the Editors: The War in Iraq. Reformulation, Summer, p.6.


Letters to the Editors

The War in Iraq

The interesting thing to me is the way the different parties involved define their positions and that this is directly parallel to therapy process.

The US/UK decided on a procedure of forceful control aimed at eliciting submissive compliance from IRAQ. Rebellious non-compliance elicited increased force and control which in turn resulted in collapse (and now passive resistance masquerading as submissive compliance). In relation to the world, the free press and general opinion, the US/UK presented its actions as those of a rescuer in relation to a victim-persecutor-rescuer triangle (Iraqi people-Saddam-US/UK). They hoped for an admiring - admired response (echoes of Margaret Thatcher telling the press to “Rejoice!” at the end of the Falklands War). Al Jazeera took the view that it was more bullying and abusive (US/UK) to crushed and abused (IRAQ). Saddam may have been an abusive bully but US/UK helped him to be there in the first place. The UK press, unlike the US press, took a more neutral stance conditionally validating the action but increasingly disapproving the failure to move swiftly to a caring and attentive (if not perfectly caring) role towards the Iraqi people.

In effect we see how behaviour can be described differently by different parties. The way the powerful, the powerless and the neutral describe an interaction and its meaning will all be different. History is written by the victors (the most powerful usually); as therapists we have to be clear about the power dynamics we get caught up in, the positions we take up and particularly the way we help clients rewrite their histories.

Mark Dunn

Full Reference

Dunn, M., 2003. Letters to the Editors: The War in Iraq. Reformulation, Summer, p.6.

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