Barbara Ehrenreich: ‘What Abu Ghraib Taught Me’

“The photos did something else to me, as a feminist: They broke my heart. I had no illusions about the U.S. mission in Iraq – whatever exactly it is – but it turns out that I did have some illusions about women.

Of the seven U.S. soldiers now charged with sickening forms of abuse in Abu Ghraib, three are women: Spc. Megan Ambuhl, Pfc. Lynndie England and Spc. Sabrina Harman.

It was Harman we saw smiling an impish little smile and giving the thumbs-up sign from behind a pile of hooded, naked Iraqi men – as if to say, “Hi Mom, here I am in Abu Ghraib!” It was England we saw with a naked Iraqi man on a leash. If you were doing PR for Al Qaeda, you couldn’t have staged a better picture to galvanize misogynist Islamic fundamentalists around the world.

Here, in these photos from Abu Ghraib, you have everything that the Islamic fundamentalists believe characterizes Western culture, all nicely arranged in one hideous image – imperial arrogance, sexual depravity … and gender equality.” — AlterNet