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Block's "soul-searching... essays (on the War)... are
among the most readable to come out of Los Angeles (that) smartly
combine outrage and eccentric observations with levelheaded
warnings about the loss of civil liberties."
Most of Dr. Block's essays are reprinted in Counterpunch, "America's Best Political Newsletter," edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
thrilled to have you on our site, lending distinction and intelligence."
and I love your stuff... So do most of our readers. The ones who
don't?...well, fuck em. " Jeff St. Clair
am a newspaper reporter and read a hell of a lot every day. I must
say that your column on Janet
Jackson at the SuperBowl was one of the funniest, most insightful
and brilliant columns I have read in recent years."
Block's Terror Journals
In another Photo, Private Lynndie seems a little kookier. Maybe she’d been drinking, or maybe she was just drunk on power. Maybe she was told to pose like this. A cigarette dangles, Bogie-like, from her lips, as she moves down her row of naked hooded men. She is making one masturbate for her, but she gives her smile to the camera.
You can tell Lynndie knows she’s good at this sexual torture stuff. Why, she could set herself up as a professional dominatrix when she goes home to West Virginia. She’d do a bang-up business (especially after all this PR). Though it wouldn’t be the same. After all, the guys that go to doms want to be abused. The way The Photo tells it, Private Lynndie’s hooked on the real stuff, the power that comes from having a bunch of fellow soldiers with guns backing you up, the power of forcing petrified men (your prisoners) to humiliate themselves for the pleasure of other men (your bosses). There are no “safe words” here. Lucky Lynndie dances down her conga line of Boys in the Hoods.
Then, there’s Lynndie again, right hand giving the thumbs up, left arm wrapped around her favorite partner-in-crime, Specialist Charles Grainer (allegedly her lover and father of her expected child), as they stand tall behind their human pyramid, like giddy tourists at an exotic amusement park, or proud hunters showing off their bagged prey.
Or like early 20th century Americans at a lynching party. Bard College History of Photography Professor Luc Sante finds this comparison most apt: “In photographs that were taken and often printed as postcards in the American heartland in the first four decades of the 20th century, black men are shown hanging from trees or light fixtures or maybe being burned alive, while below them white people are laughing and pointing for the benefit of the camera... Before seeing such pictures you might expect the faces in them to express some kind of collective rage; instead the mood is giddy, often verging on hysterical, with a distinct sexual undercurrent. Like the lynching crowds, the Americans at Abu Ghraib felt free to parade their triumph and glee not because they were psychopaths but because the thought of censure probably never crossed their minds.” Why would they be censured when Big Daddy Bush gave the thumbs-up to “loosening up” the limits after 9-11?
Feminists are quiet about it so far, but Lynndie does prove Right-wing gadfly Ann Coulter's point that women in the military can be "vicious." Of course, Lynndie's friend Chuck proves that men are vicious too. Actually, there are more male than female guards in The Photos; it's just that Lynndie's such a stand-out!
A later release shows Lynndie's serious side. In this now world-famous scene, she plays the haughty mistress glaring contemptuously down at her obstinate dog, as she holds a leash, the collar of which is around the neck of one of her prisoners who lies naked, grimacing, on the floor.
Private Lynndie, Churchgoing Patriot Daughter of Fort Ashby, West Virginia, (town of one stoplight and six churches), Dominatrix to the Sand Demons of Arabie, Middle-Woman to the War Machine. America’s most despised young lady right now, Lynndie is the Anti-Lynch, Jessica’s shattered mirror image, the smiling face of American Womanhood at War that no one wants to see and that everyone now must face.
Who are you, Lynndie England, how could you do such things, and what will you do now? Mata Hari was a patsy too, my dear. But at least, she had the seductive savoir-faire to blow a kiss to the boys on her firing squad before they gunned her down. Would you? Who knows?
This much, as a sex therapist, I do know: Wealthy American men with submissive fantasies (most of whom are Republican) will pay their mistresses well to “Treat me like dirt, Mistress, treat me like Lynndie treated the Iraqis!” for many years to come.
The Blowjob Photo: Bush's Gay Agenda
Then there’s the Blowjob Photo. Former US President Bill Clinton was impeached over a blowjob, but his was consensual. These guys are being forced to simulate fellatio on each other. This appears to be the Bush Way to treat the issue of homosexuality. Let’s not let Americans of the same sex have the right to marry; oh no, that would be immoral! Let’s have American troops force Iraqis to pretend to blow each other, in order to make them talk, or punish them, or keep them awake, or show them who’s “the superior outside force,” or to make “good old American pornography,” or maybe just because we feel like it.
Staged with an eye for drama and composition, The Blowjob looks like a lot of the American porn that the guards and interrogators were probably ogling on their laptops for inspiration in between torture sessions. In fact, in some ways, Bush's POW Porn is just an extention of the 21st century "Everyone's A Pornographer!" phenomenon. No longer just made by the pros in the San Fernando Valley, porn is now made by every amateur with a digital camera, from librarians in Kansas City to military police in Abu Ghraib, and instantly distributed through the Internet around the world.
Now I’m all for exporting American porn to the Arab World. In fact, I already do that, since The Dr. Susan Block Show (which some call “porn”) is on in Israel, where it’s translated into Arabic as well as Hebrew (not to mention the fact that anybody can look at my website). I say, hey, if they want porn, we should sell it to them at rock bottom prices, or better yet, give it to them free as a gesture of good will and to “spread American values.” But forcing them to act in our porn movies and photo shoots is, to say the least, not good for the business.
Moreover, most of Bush’s POW Porn is not just your basic simulated blow-job, but agonizing S/M, otherwise known as torture, and not the fun, consensual kind. In one photo, guards loom ominously over naked prisoners bound together painfully. In another, a naked man, his body contorted with terror, looks at two snarling military dogs ready to attack him (later photographs show that the dogs do bite the man). Then there’s the shackled guy, his back in an excruciating arch, with panties on his head. Is this a fetish show or a prison? Or are prisons fetish shows more than we want to know?
The Passion of the President
what has become the lead photo of the bunch, probably because the
prisoner isn’t naked, a Christ-like figure with wires hanging from
hands, and reportedly, from his penis, stands on a small box, told
that if he lost his balance and fell off the box, he’d be electrocuted.
He resembles a Medieval Mystery Player with his ragged cape, bare
feet and death mask hood pointed at the top, like the dunce cap worn
the village idiot or court jester. His plaintive stance seems to
say “Why me?” It is eloquent in its acquiescence. The prisoner is helpless
indeed, but there is power in his posture; it also says “J’accuse.”
It speaks for many of us, in Iraq, in America, in France, in Spain, and all over the world, who would like to say to Mr. Bush: I accuse you, Mr. Bush, along with your collaborators, of lying to us, wiring us up to terror, forcing us into this horrible, humiliating war, while we stand, terrorized, on a box.
It also gives us a glimpse into the sexual nature of the man. Not the man on the box. The man who put the man on the box. Of course, many people put that man on the box, starting with a woman, SPC Sabrina Harman, 372nd MP Company, who set up the box, Then there’s Corporal Charles A. Graner who told her to put the man on the box. Then there’s the MI’s or CIA guys who told him to “keep detainees awake…and get them to talk…give them a bad night,” or “soften them up.” Then there are the Generals who run the prisons and run the wars, the Vice President who pushed this particular war, the Defense Secretary who aggressively waged this war, the members of Congress who voted to approve this war, the media people who promoted this war, and the voters who gave it the thumbs-up. But it is the self-described War President that sets the pace, goals and style of the war, especially this war, Bush’s War. Thus, my feeling that The Photos give us a glimpse into the perverse heart, bullying soul and pathetic little gonads of Mr. GW Bush.
Am I being too harsh on Dubya in suggesting that these images stem from his personal sexual nature? Perhaps. But I don’t think so. Remember, this is the man who giggled and mocked Karla Faye Tucker, his fellow born-again Christian sentenced to die under his jurisdiction. “Please don’t kill me,” he mimicked in a high girlish voice, pursing his lips and squinting his eyes, seeming to savor the memory of how she’d begged for her life, and, as Governor of Texas, he’d killed her anyway. If we can understand how a U.S. presidential candidate can talk like that in an interview with Talk Magazine, perhaps we can understand why Lynndie and Chuck can grin like that in The Photos.
Remember, this is the American Executioner who, when he was governor of Texas, presided over a record-setting 152 lethal injections. Maybe not as barbaric as lynchings, but you can only push limits so far. This was the son who relished being his dad’s “hatchet man,” especially when he had the pleasure of axing someone suspected of disloyalty. This is the happy gunslinger that gave the CIA authority to assassinate those deemed a threat to U.S. interests, virtually suspending Executive Orders by Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan prohibiting such assassinations. This is the opportunistic autocrat who used the tragedy of 9-11 to relax the CIA and MI’s previous restrictions on using torture, and won’t even call the guys he’s picking up Prisoners of War. This is the definitive chickenhawk who let other men of his generation fight in Vietnam, then sent men and women of his daughters’ generation to invade Iraq. This is the back-slapping bully who celebrated the destruction of a country with a “Mission Accomplished” costume party.