Thursday, September 04, 2014

War fever again


As we travel about the country on the bookapalooza for Mainstreaming Torture, author Rebecca Gordon has discovered that, where technologically possible, the talks go better when she shows images that leaked from the U.S. torture prison at Abu Ghraib in Iraq in 2004. Those images -- like the one above -- were so searing for many of us that it has become hard to fathom that some people have forgotten and others simply are too young to remember. It has been a decade after all.

Of course there are those who do remember. Tom Engelhardt explains in How America made ISIS:

We, however, ignore the virtual library of videos and other imagery the U.S. generated, images widely viewed (or heard about and discussed) with no less horror in the Muslim world than ISIS’s imagery is in ours.  As a start, there were the infamous “screen saver” images straight out of the Marquis de Sade from Abu Ghraib prison.  There, Americans tortured and abused Iraqi prisoners, while creating their own iconic version of crucifixion imagery. 

Then there were the videos that no one (other than insiders) saw, but that everyone heard about.  These, the CIA took of the repeated torture and abuse of al-Qaeda suspects in its “black sites.”  In 2005, they were destroyed by an official of that agency, lest they be screened in an American court someday. 

There was also the Apache helicopter video released by WikiLeaks in which American pilots gunned down Iraqi civilians on the streets of Baghdad (including two Reuters correspondents), while on the sound track the crew are heard wisecracking. 

There was the video of U.S. troops urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.  There were the trophy photos of body parts brought home by U.S. soldiers.  There were the snuff filmsof the victims of Washington’s drone assassination campaigns in the tribal backlands of the planet (or “bug splat,” as the drone pilots came to call the dead from those attacks) and similar footage from helicopter gunships. 

There was the bin Laden snuff film video from the raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, of which President Obama reportedly watched a live feed.  And that’s only to begin to account for some of the imagery produced by the U.S. since September 2001 from its various adventures in the Greater Middle East.

No wonder ISIS is bidding for attention and dumb responses with beheading videos.

Our empire is addicted to dumb wars. This president seems not to be, but he is boxed in by our general foolishness. Horrors proliferate.

2 comments:

Hattie said...

Well, if Biden wants to go to war, I say after you, buddy.

janinsanfran said...

Agreed Hattie. I'm vaguely plotting a post repeating some of the most bellicose utterances from our politicians, accompanied by head shot pics -- maybe they should have to put their own heads on the line if they want to rave about ISIS?

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