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Comments by YACCS
Friday, April 30, 2004

A little humiliation and torture

A little humiliation and torture

The thing about the pictures of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated is that it is the result of braindead management and racism.

The whole culture of Abu Gharib was designed to control and humiliate Iraqi detainees. The photos come from a fairly wide culture of contempt. These are not the first prisoners to be abused by Americans or the first courtmartial to happen over this kind of treatment.

What is incindiary are the pictures of a woman humilating Arab men and dogs being sicced on them. These are gross violations of Arab culture and sure to assist the resistance in killing Americans. The idea of a woman humiliating men will go down poorly in the Arab world, as will the idea of dogs being used on prisoners.

Saddam didn't take pictures of the people he tortured, and more importantly, he didn't humiliate them for pleasure. Iraqis kept their torture secret.

The fact that the prison officials allowed contract interrogators to have supervisory roles with the prison guards is even more revolting.

Now, why did these things happen? Why would American, and now British, soldiers, seek to abuse, humiliate and then record their acts?

Because that is what you do when you have a racist contempt for those in your charge.

Omer Bartov, the leading German historian of the Eastern Front, helped create an exhibit of Wehrmacht soldiers abusing Russians a few years ago. The exhibit broke the myth that all of the abuses on the Eastern Front were done by the SS. Of course, this exhibit went down like a lead balloon. People were angry at confronting the lies they had hidden behind for decades.

The guards and the interrogators had a deep racist contempt for the Iraqis. They felt no need to treat them decently. When you can call them hajis and sand niggers, how far is it to allowing an Iraqi translator to rape a teenage boy, who was arrested for whatever reason? The abuse didn't come from thin air, but a casual racism which the US command has tolerated from its soldiers.

With communication limited, and a barrier of interrorgators and translators, it becomes very easy to be divorced from the humanity of their prisoners. So things which are clearly horrific, like pyramids of naked men and exposing their genitals, become a giantic joke. They aren't people, but things to abuse. They aren't like us, they can't even communicate with us. Their country is a mess, they needed us to save them, they don't even have a Taco Bell, why should we respect them as fellow humans.

Now, to Arabs, these images are akin to seeing child porn. It couldn't be more offensive or humiliating if you tried. A woman displaying the gentials of Arab men? Dogs? If you wanted a recruiting poster to kill Americans, this would be it.

The soldiers who did this had no clue. Not about Arab culture, the laws of war or the Geneva Convention and the general running the prison was more interested in looking good than running an effective prison. That doesn't mean they aren't guilty of vile abuses, but their superiors shouldn't get a free pass.

God help any Americans captured by the resistance now.

posted by Steve @ 12:00:00 PM

12:00:00 PM

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