If you’re anything like me — and why wouldn’t you be? — you’ve been whipped into something a froth by reports of “Bush’s mysterious new programs” targeting “Fifth Columnists” (supposed terrorist collaborators, disloyal fraternizers, kids who refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, what have you), AND how Halliburton has been awarded yet more contracts to build prisons to house the inevitable influx of the aforementioned traitors, not to mention those poor sods who, once they’ve been tortured by Rummy’s patented techniques, can’t ever be released for the rest of their lives on accounta they know too much about Rummy’s patented techniques.
Anyway, I’ve been ruminating on the subject of torture, and one thing has led to another, and, as was inevitable, I’ve started stewing about women’s underwear.
I mean to say that in report after gruesome report on torture tactics sanctioned by the Secretary of Defense and employed by American sociopath-imperialist forces in hell-holes like GuantÃ¡namo and Abu Ghraib, one reads ceaselessly of “snarling military dogs,” “stress positions,” “deprivation of light and auditory stimuli,” “20-hour interrogations,” “sleep deprivation,” “forced to perform tricks while tethered to dog leash,” “waterboarding, and “forced to wear women’s underwear on head.”
Every news source reports this women’s-underwear-on-head situation without batting an eye. That it counts as torture strikes nobody as odd. Salon (its gripping series “The Abu Ghraib Files” uses images from the Army’s own investigation to chronicle the enormity of prisoner abuse from October to December, 2003) reports that women’s-underwear-on-head was (and undoubtedly still is) “standard operating procedure.” According to Salon, “The Fay report [a US military internal affairs report] found that there was ‘ample evidence of detainees being forced to wear women’s underwear.’ Fay concluded that the use of women’s underwear may have been part of the military intelligence tactic called ‘ego down,’ adding that the method constitutes abuse and sexual humiliation.”
All right-thinking Americans — people who would feast for 47 days and 47 nights if Donald Rumsfeld were finally tried for war crimes — accept without comment that, although the physical duress it entails must be something on the order of “comfy chair,” panties-on-the-noggin represents an act of degradation so extreme it appears to be a breach of the Geneva Conventions.
While is true that most of the prison photos show women’s underwear used in conjunction with one or more of the other more sadistic tactics, few media reports fail to accord the undies at least equal billing. A military CID caption of this Abu Ghraib photo
reads “Detainees [sic] is handcuffed in the nude to a bed and has a pair of panties covering his face.” Here the syntax reveals that “handcuffed in the nude” is deemed the equivalent of “panties covering his face.” Now consider, if you will, the caption I found accompanying this same picture at notinourname.net: “A naked prisoner, chained to his matress-less [sic] bunk, is forced to wear women’s underwear on his head.” Not “a naked prisoner, women’s underwear on his head, is shackled spread-eagle to a bare bunk.” By virtue of its position as the sentence’s predicate, the brutality of the panties is clearly the statement the caption’s author wishes to make about subject, revealing, I contend, the aspect of the photograph to which the writer has experienced the greater emotional response.
The prisoners themselves have expressed a marked sensitivity to the humiliative superpowers of women’s panties, recalling their underwearian experiences in what is to me surprisingly (given all the other godawful shit they’d endured) vivid detail. Back at Salon, detainee H—– says “They gave me woman’s underwear that was rose color with flowers on it.” Another detainee says, “[The] American police [...] he put red woman’s underwear over my head.” Taken in context, their statements suggest they actually view underwear-on-head on a par with being suspended above the floor from shackled hands for 5 hours.
I am not arguing that forcing prisoners of war to wear women’s underwear on their heads is not an act of torture. Clearly it is torture. What interests me is the reason it is torture. How is it that nobody has anything but the utmost sympathy for a fellow shown with a pair of girly skivvies on his head? By what demented code does a swatch of soft pink cotton become an instrument of torment? What makes this particular cruelty stand out from a field of persecutions so squalid they can only have proceeded from massively deranged minds crammed with snuff films and bongwater?
Duh, it’s universally and unanimously acknowledged that there is no lower life form than a human female, no bit of her more base than her cunt, and no tangible symbol of that cunt more handy than a pair of her knickers. Clearly, on this point our sadistic American military jailers and their unfortunate captives agree. When you wanna totally humiliate, degrade, and dehumanize a dude, just call him a girl.
Military intelligence sadists realized, incidentally, that putting women’s underwear on female prisoners’ heads didn’t have quite the same resonance, so it was a case of “show us your tits or we’ll rape you” for the women they arrested on suspicion of, what else, prostitution.