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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Part 4: No Photos Please!

More from writer/activist Lucinda Marshall
What perhaps horrifies and discomforts us the most however is the blatant connection between pornography and the violence of war, which is so graphically illustrated on Wilson's site. One of the pictures Thompson saw on Wilson's site which illustrates the point shows,
" a woman whose right leg has been torn off by a land mine, and a medical worker is holding the mangled stump up to the camera. The woman's vagina is visible under the hem of her skirt. The caption for this picture reads: "Nice puss -– bad foot." "
This is certainly not the first time that photos depicting violence during the Iraq conflict have been spun as pornographic entertainment. When the photos of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib first surfaced, several photos depicting the rape and sexual assault of Arabic-looking women by non-Arabic looking soldiers circulated on the internet. They were immediately discounted as fakes that were made for pornographic enjoyment simply because they had been posted to pornography sites. But as Wilson's site illustrates, criminal behavior can indeed be considered entertainment. It is also important to remember that the use of prostitutes has long been considered legitimate R&R for male soldiers and as a recent report obtained from the Democratic staff of the House Veterans Affairs Committee indicates, sexual abuse is rampant within the military.
If you've seen a movie in the theaters or on television you know the combination of sex and violence is a popular form of entertainment. Eroticized violence is often an aspect of pornography especially the hard-core variety.
The real crime that Lynndie England committed was not that she posed inappropriately but rather that her participation challenged the assumptions of how women are supposed to behave. The military has always been a culture that uses rape as a weapon of war and one that takes a 'boys will be boys' attitude about sexual assault within it's own ranks. That photos of female soldiers posing with their weapons such as the ones on Wilson's site or those of Pvt. England pointing at a prisoner's genitalia are considered morally reprehensible, while photos of rape and torture are trivialized as entertainment rather than seen as violations of human rights and international law, is hardly surprising. They simply represent the continuum of misogyny that is an implicit part of the ethos of militarism.


Next Post: No Photos Please! the conclusion.

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