Naked bodies, smiling soldiers, sexual humiliation and the random slaughter of civilians, all in the name of freedom and liberty. Now, where have we seen this before?
The recent deluge of photographs and video footage emerging from occupied Iraq, showing images of American servicemen and women torturing, beating and abusing Iraqi prisoners have sent shockwaves of horror around the world, drawing universal condemnation from any right thinking person.
And yet, none of this should surprise us in the least. War, as has been frequently stated, is hell. Indeed, it’s such an overworked phrase that we almost think of it as cliche. This war was supposed to be about the liberation of civilians. On the contrary, we are seeing first hand the enslavement of an entire people. There seems to be precious little liberation going on. Well, at least aside from liberating innocent civilians from their limbs and lives…
War is terrorism on a bigger budget. It is murder. It involves death, blood, carnage and dead bodies. It always has. And it always will. That, no matter what criminals such as Bush and Blair tell us, will always be the way of war. There is nothing much new in this. All wars, no matter where they take place have borne witness to such barbarity.
But now, we can watch it almost as it happens.
What makes our age different from those before, is that we live in a time of hyper-communication, where any incident, no matter how small, no matter how trivial it may seem, can be reported to a substantial bulk of the human population with a speed that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.
Previously, such fast-moving reportage was the preserve of Fleet Street hacks: think of the British Tabloids having Hugh Grant’s mugshots less than 16 hours after getting busted. But now, in the last two weeks we, the horrified and impotent masses have been treated to images of Iraqi civilians being forced to pose naked in heaps of bodies, their postures immediately calling to mind the piles of bodies from concentration camps.
We have seen images of prisoners forced to masturbate on each other, covered in shit, being beaten and lying dead on the floor whilst American soldiers stand smiling and giving thumbs up signs. We have also seen Iraqi standing, arms outstrectched, heads bagged with what looks like electrodes strapped to their skin, dogs barking in their faces and being walked like dogs on leashes.
However, for some reason which I find exceptionally difficult to articulate, the images which have disturbed me the most have been those involving the forced sexual humiliation of Iraqi men and women whilst Americans stand by laughing and taking snaps for the boys back home. I am truly at a loss to describe how I feel when I see images of Iraqis forced into human pyramids, standing naked and being forced to masturbate for amusement.
It’s time for us, the International community to get off the fence and start calling this as it is. These are crimes against humanity. This is rape. Not just of the body, but of dignity. The rape of the beaten, the humiliated and the broken. This is Caesar watching prisoners of war being eviscerated and slaughtered in the new digital Colloseum. This is the Christians being fed to the lions.
Just as the Romans displayed the defeated enemies of the Empire before the baying masses, America now watches as suspected ‘terrorists’ are paraded in defeat and despair before the conquering armies of freedom. Welcome to the Pleasuredome.
This isn’t America. At least not the America that I think I know. This is 1940’s Germany. This is the Joy Division. This is humanity at it’s sickest: the military-industrial complex run rampant across the globe, burning, looting and ransacking as it pleases.
This is the rape of a nation, of it’s people, of it’s resources, of it’s oil, of it’s future. The Governments of the United States of America (which was never technically elected), and Great Britain have carried out an illegal war, chasing non-existent weapons, using bogus security reports to frighten us, and steam rolling the will of the vast majority of human citizens.
Not to mention what has been done to America itself. I can’t understand why it is that every single American I meet, without exception, is appalled at these acts and President Bush in general, yet opinion polls tell us that he will be elected again.
Let’s get real shall we?
A new pornography is rising. Naked women and men are paraded before us on television and the internet, their broken, feeble, naked bodies so ghastly we can barely look. Add to that the almost snuff-like quality of the Nick Berg video and it is becoming clear that something is very, very, very wrong with our societies.
The almost live, globally-observed sexual humiliation of prisoners of war, represents a watershed in human society: pornography and rape as entertainment. And tomorrow morning Bush will still be the President of the United States.
Iraqis are being killed whilst they attend weddings. Their dead bodies constitute the staple diet of our News shows. Their blood, unlike their oil, is worthless except to provide a shocking image for our consumption.
It’s time to say it: the behaviour of the Bush Administration is becoming Nazi-like.