Soldiers learn to see killing the context of a larger good; terrorists may say they are punishing “nonbelievers.”
“Collateral damage”; “clean, surgical strikes”; and having someone “taken care of” are all familiar examples.
Comparing an enemy to Hitler to justify an attack; or excusing a reckless act by comparing it to worse transgression by a rival or predecessor.
Displacement of responsibility
Shifting the blame to a boss, a leader or another authority figure; “I was just carrying out orders.”
Diffusion of responsibility
Sharing the responsibility for a transgression with others who took part, or who played indirect roles: “Everyone was doing it.”
Disregard or distortion of consequences
Refusal to acknowledge the reality of the damage caused; rationalizing that “it wasn’t all that bad.”
Assailing others as degenerates, devils, savages or infidels. Some fruiterers refer to their victims as “worms.”
Blaming the victim
The people being cheated or attacked are “asking for it.”
New York Times article on Dr. Albert Bandura’s findings, quoted in Typecasting by Ewen and Ewen, pg. 482.