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They usually start out as ordinary people, doing their best to deal with mixed messages in a complex world. What they don’t realize is that they may be the targets of a violent system that is building an obedient workforce. One day they’re enjoying a few laughs with buddies, and seemingly the next day, they wake up as human killing machines. And they allow it to happen.

Addressing one of the most serious threats to the world today, Human Killing Machines applies the model of systematic indoctrination to case studies of brutality in Iran, Nazi Germany, Al Qaeda, and Abu Ghraib. The book reveals how these transformations take place—how systems redefine morality to turn ordinary people into torturers, terrorists, and genocidal killers. Adam Lankford also provides a side-by-side comparison of these cases across six critical variables, in order to identify key similarities and differences and the potential for strategic countermeasures.

Based on this analysis, he offers recommendations for how we can begin to reduce Al Qaeda terrorists’ commitment to their missions, reform the U.S. military and increase its accountability, and spark an awakening in Iran so that the oppressive regime goes out with a whimper—not with a bang. 

     from the book jacket (.pdf)