The question has been raised regarding the recent brutal, vicious, and apparently locally popular attack on American personnel assisting with food relief in Fallujah “How can these people (the attackers, those who desecrated the charred remains of the bodies, and those who cheered them) rationalize a brutal attack on people who have come to help and feed them?”. The answer is simple, if not obvious.
These people were acting on their beliefs. Beliefs need have no relationship to objective reality. Beliefs are shaped by the frames of reference of individuals and groups. These frames of reference determine how people think about and discuss things. They, in turn, are shaped by personal predilection and by group culture (usually at multiple levels). The range of possible perspectives of anything is infinite; and the views that any given individual or group may hold of anything may strike us as surprising, bizarre, or even pathological (and they may indeed be); but a skilled and daring propagandist may put forth any assertion; and a credulous audience may embrace even the most preposterous notions, if they are inclined to do so. As objective reality is filtered through perception shaped by frames of reference, black can become white, up may become down, in may become out. Everything is possible in the human mind and heart.
In this case, the frames of reference of the population of Fallujah have clearly been shaped by our enemy to suit their purposes, and to oppose our own. These people have been made to believe that their victims, and perhaps even their victims’ relief efforts, were evil. They brutally, viciously, and enthusiastically attacked what they believed to be evil (as they defined evil). Their frames of reference shaped their perceptions, which in turn shaped their actions.
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