Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sex Crimes in the White House

No, that is not a teaser headline. At HuffPo, Naomi Wolf gathers the evidence, including public confessions by the perpetrators, and makes the case.

Sex crime has a telltale signature, even when those directing the outrages are some of the most powerful men and women in the United States. How extraordinary, then, to learn that one of the perpetrators of these crimes, Condoleezza Rice, has just led the debate in a special session of the United Nations Security Council on the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.


We now know that the torture of prisoners was the result of a policy set in the White House by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Rice -- who actually chaired the torture meetings. The Pentagon has also acknowledged that it had authorized sexualized abuse of detainees as part of interrogation practices to be performed by female operatives. And documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union have Rumsfeld, in his own words, checking in on the sexualized humiliation of prisoners.

The sexualization of torture from the top basically turned Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay into an organized sex-crime ring in which the trafficked sex slaves were US-held prisoners. Looking at the classic S and M nature of some of this torture, it is hard not to speculate that someone setting policy was aroused by all of this. And Phillipe Sands' impeccably documented Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values, now proves that sex crime was authorized and, at least one source reports, eroticized: Diane Beaver, the Staff Judge Advocate at Guantanamo who signed off on many torture techniques, told Sands about brainstorming sessions that included the use of "sexual tension," which was "culturally taboo, disrespectful, humiliating and potentially unexpected."

"These brainstorming meetings at Guantanamo produced animated discussion," writes Sands. "'Who has the glassy eyes?" Beaver asked herself as she surveyed the men around the room, thirty or more of them. She was invariably the only woman in the room, keeping control of the boys. The younger men would get excited, agitated, even: "You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas" [reported Beaver]. A wan smile crossed Beaver's face: "And I said to myself, you know what, I don't have a dick to get hard, I can stay detached."' [Sands, p 63]


Though we can now debate what the penalty for waterboarding should be, America as a nation, maintaining an odd silence, still cannot seem to discuss the sex crimes involved.


Silence, and even collusion, is also typical of sex crimes within a family. Americans are behaving like a dysfunctional family by shielding sex criminals in their midst through silence.

Just as sex criminals -- and the leaders who directed the use of rape and sexual abuse as a military strategy -- were tried and sentenced after the wars in Bosnia and Sierra Leone, so Americans must hold accountable those who committed, or authorized, sex crimes in US-operated prisons. Throughout the world, this perverse and graphic criminality has added fuel to anxiety about US cultural and military power. These acts need to be called by their true names -- war crimes and sex crimes -- and people in America need to demand justice for the perpetrators and their victims. As in a family, only when people start to speak out and tell the truth about rape and sexual assault can the healing begin.

Read the whole thing, if you think you can stomach the details.

Wolf doesn't say so explicitly, but those who study the use of torture know that the real purpose of torture is the sexual satisfaction of the torturer. Military leaders have known for decades that torture is worse than useless for gathering intelligence. Torture borders on counter-productive even as punishment, in that it tends to create martyrs and increase resistance by the population at large.

No, torture of defenseless prisoners is nothing more than a way for sexual deviants and impotent perverts to get their rocks off.

Just watch Smirky's face when he's making the "ticking bomb" torture defense: the glassy eyes, the lip-licking, the flared nostrils. You just know the only way he can get it up for Laura is by pretending she's a 10-year-old Iraqi boy.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.