Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

“Rape /and/ Sodomy” at Abu Ghraib

Scott Horton has posted an article to the Daily Beast with the following lead:

The Pentagon is denying the facts: Photographs of Abu Ghraib torture are even more sexually explicit than first reported, including rape and sodomy, writes The Daily Beast’s Scott Horton, who has obtained specific and detailed corroboration of the photos.

As it suggests, the article lays out the collected allegations of the sexual dimension to the torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib, all of which are shocking and abhorrent, and all of which speak best for themselves.

The word sodomy jumped out at me, mostly because Andrew Wilkow’s rant, transcribed in the HuffPo, is still ringing in my ears:

“Perez Hilton, who I am now terming a vile sodomite . . . yeah, Perez, you’re a vile sodomite – doesn’t that word have a ring to it – sodomite — and vile – vile sodomite – it just sounds so good to hear in my headphones – vile sodomite . . . . I’m not sure whose idea it was to have an overweight homosexual . . . What do gays constitute? They could announce the cure for AIDS on Logo and nobody would know for two weeks . . . And again, Perez Hilton, you’re a vile sodomite . . . and then this vile sodomite . . .
You, the idiot taxpayer, are paying the salary of that nice little boy, Rachel Maddow . . . Keith Olbermann’s nephew, Rachel Maddow . . . .”

Horton says the photos show “rape and sodomy,” and then specifies:

The Daily Beast has confirmed that the photographs of abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, which President Obama, in a reversal, decided not to release, depict sexually explicit acts, including a uniformed soldier receiving oral sex from a female prisoner, a government contractor engaged in an act of sodomy with a male prisoner and scenes of forced masturbation, forced exhibition, and penetration involving phosphorous sticks and brooms.

Why does the act of sodomy described not fall into the category of rape? Presumably if it was between a contractor and a prisoner, and soldiers were taking photos of it, it was an act intended to humiliate and was certainly not consensual–if one could call anything consensual from the perspective of the prisoners in the environment captured in those photos.

I’m guessing Horton’s choice to splice the two (rape /and/ sodomy) was rhetorical, aimed at leveraging the cultural baggage associated with the latter in addition to that associated with the former. But the cultural baggage of the latter, to me, is highly problematic and irrelevant. Yes “sodomy” is the legal term, and that’s presumably how Horton would respond, but that sucks too.

UPDATE: Just realized that it was probably Horton’s headline writer who spliced rape an sodomy in the quoted paragraph. Doesn’t really affect my larger point though.

Advertisements

No Responses to ““Rape /and/ Sodomy” at Abu Ghraib”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: