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May 15, 2004

GI Joe Meets GI Ho


by Ilana Mercer

We ain't seen nothing yet, the congressional censors warn. The pornographic pictorials from Abu Ghraib prison, starring some sadistic and slutty servicemen and women, are soft core compared to the X-rated fare that has yet to go public.

The members of the 800th Military Police Brigade have so far been captured by digital cameras in a variety of positions, not to their best advantage. Their favorite game was to force naked Iraqis to form a human pyramid, rather like a vicious variation of Twister. In another already infamous photo, these sadists, snarling dogs in tow, surround a cowering and naked Iraqi. It's impossible not to be moved by this prisoner's pathetic attempts to conceal his private parts. But then, "they" don't understand democracy; we don't understand modesty.

The testimony of Haider Sabbar Abed al-Abbadi reveals there is nothing straight-laced about our uniformed lasses. He confessed reluctantly to Time magazine that he was one of the prisoners forced to simulate oral sex, an image seared onto more than just CD-ROMs. Al-Abbadi also contends (and the photos thus far give no reason to doubt him) that he was instructed to masturbate while a female soldier performed a "Girls Gone Wild" routine.

In reward for her seductive dance, the Salome of antiquity got the head of John the Baptist. For their stripteases, our latter-day Salomes got the head of Nicholas Berg. He was the civilian American communications specialist beheaded by some of the region's latter-day barbarians in response to the humiliation of their brethren at Abu Ghraib.

While most of the rutting performed by G.I. Joe and G.I. Ho in as-yet-unreleased videos is apparently consensual, members of Congress describe the still-classified photos of prisoner abuse as even more sickening than imagined. "Take the worse case and multiply it several times over," shuddered Sen. Ron Wyden.

What – worse than Pfc. Lynndie England pointing her fist like a gun at a certain region of a naked Iraqi's body? Apparently so. The Army's Madame de Sade would evidently have no difficulty finding this region if she herself were hooded and hog-tied (a reasonable precaution given her predilections). Divorced at 19, this G.I. Ho and her beau, colleague in torture, Specialist Charles Graner, are expecting little Damien in four months. Two things that are definitely not isolated occurrences in today's Army are feral levels of fornication and illegitimacy.

The fresh images are allegedly still worse than Pfc. England holding a leash tied around a naked man's neck and worse than the maiden appearance of one Cpl. Keisha Palmer of the 301st Military Police. She is shown being caressed by two doubtlessly unwilling Iraqi female prisoners, some of whom had been jailed at Abu Ghraib for several months, together with thousands of other inmates.

Of course, some on the talk-radio shout-fest regard images such as the Iraqi cuffed to a cot, women's underwear on his head, or the hooded and wired Iraqi balancing on a box as mere "hazings" or "pranks." The new images are, however, rumored to prove Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba's official account. Taguba, the author of an internal report on the abuses, documented incidents of sodomy with a chemical light.

Although many insist the crimes at Abu Ghraib are an aberration, others, including the Red Cross, Amnesty International, scores of detainees, and Maj. Gen. Taguba, tell a different story. Taguba underscores that although he found no evidence of specific directives from higher authorities, the abuses, nonetheless, were systematic and widespread, involving a "quarter of the military-intelligence officers and civilian contractors." Our chastened lawmakers agree that the involvement of a wider circle of jerks than previously posited now seems likely.

While it is quite reasonable to argue in favor of using deprivation techniques to extract information that may save lives, it is quite another matter to use sexual crimes, practiced and chronicled with pride by mugging soldiers, as a form of interrogation. Ultimately, however you slice it, the photographs tell a tale, not of fleeting youthful indiscretion, but of abiding degeneracy.

To claim, moreover, that Saddam Hussein did worse to "his people," or that the barbarian beheaders are infinitely more brutal than we, is to ignore that the horrors currently unfolding in Iraq are the result of our invasion and the subsequent high farce of "nation building." America's faith-based coercive outreach sparked – and continues to spark – chain reactions.

If not for the United States, there would be no insurgency to engulf Iraqis, uniting Shiite and Sunni in a common purpose: the daily killing of Americans and Iraqis alike. If not for the United States, roughly 8,000 captives held at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq would be free. Some of them are innocent; others are held (without due process) on suspicion of petty crimes of a kind rife in a lawless society; still others are insurgents. And their insurgency is, whatever else you care to say about it, a reaction to our imposed authority. It's simple physics.

The "stars" of the Abu Ghraib porn theater – victims and victimizers both – would be without a stage if not for the war America waged.

Copyright 2004 Ilana Mercer.


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Ilana Mercer is a contributor to Antiwar.com. Her new book is Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With A Corrupt Culture. To learn more about Ilana and her work, please visit her website.

 

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