Abu Ghuraib Redux
The Arabic satellite television programs showed the new Abu Ghuraib pictures repeatedly late last week, and they provoked a new round of disgust with the United States. Boing Boing tells the story of how these photos were tracked down on a photo sharing site by a reporter using the google search engine. I am mirroring the pictures still available on the web via El Mundo and jonturk.com, linked from Boing Boing.
A group of US civil rights attorneys has brought suit in Germany against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the torture case.
Although US military spokesmen keep suggesting that the torture practices were confined to a few soldiers in the lower ranks, and that the photos were mere trophies, Seymour Hersh has argued that the soldiers were ordered to humiliate and photograph the prisoners as a way of blackmailing them into becoming informants for the US. The Americans were depending on Orientalist works like Raphael Patai’s The Arab Mind in finding ways of controlling Iraqis, and were convinced that threatening males in an honor society with humiliation was the key.
The downside of using humiliation against a man whose life revolves around his honor is that he is thereafter bound to hate you, and to someday take his revenge. I wonder how many of the “insurgents” who have blown up so many US troops had been “controlled” this way in Abu Ghuraib or elsewhere.