a blog with cultural bulimia.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

that creepy smile 2.

"For all the tangled nudes, the hideous hoods, the dangling wires and the dog leash, perhaps the single most shocking thing about the images from Abu Ghraib prison is the woman in so many of the pictures: smiling broadly or giving a thumbs up or just standing casually in the demented scene as if posing in a college dorm. It's the all-American face of Private First Class Lynndie England. The girl next door, a Jessica Lynch gone wrong.

What forces, internal or external, could have brought this diminutive, 21-year-old woman and her six accused comrades to this appalling pass? There is no shortage of explanations. (...)

Psychologists and historians who study torture give what is probably the most disturbing explanation of all: they are us. For under certain circumstances, almost anyone has the capacity to commit the atrocities seen in the photos that have shocked the world.

TIME Magazine: Why Did They Do It?