From Informed Comment
Paris Hilton & Iraqi Prisoners
Sunday, June 10, 2007
American cable news has been fixated on the jailing of socialite Paris Hilton for the past week, on grounds that she twice violated the probation sentence she earlier received for drunk driving. They interrupted coverage of world leaders at the G8. They briefly spliced in Gates’s decision not to reappoint Peter Pace as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. A new frenzy broke out with every tiny twist . She was brave, she was weeping, she was mentally fragile. She was released, she was rejailed, she shouted it was unfair and cried, she was undergoing psychiatric evaluation.
Just for a little perspective, we could consider the news from Iraq on Saturday. Incoming mortar fire from guerrillas hit Bucca prison, killing 6 inmates and wounding 50.
The US military is holding 19000 Iraqis, 16000 of them at Bucca. Although most are guerrillas or their helpers, a lot of them were picked up because they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once arrested, an inmate often cannot clear himself for months or years. I don’t think they have access to attorneys. No one cares if they are depressed. At Abu Ghraib earlier on, some inmates were systematically tortured. It is unclear if all such practices have ceased.
Some Iraqi women have been held in this way. Some were essentially hostages, taken to make them reveal where their husbands or fathers were or to guarantee their good behavior. Their reputations were shot, since Iraqis think Americans are sex fiends and wouldn’t trust the virtue of a woman who had been in their custody. The unmarried among them are likely doomed to be spinsters.
American television never mentions that the US has 19000 Iraqis in jail, or that some have been women, or that some are innocent, or how they feel about being in prison.
So is Paris Hilton being given special treatment by our media? We all are, folks.
posted by Juan @ 6/10/2007 06:29:00 AM
At 6:52 AM, Peter Attwood said…
Why might Iraqis, Filipinos, and Okinawans, and Thais – for starters – think that Americans are sex fiends? Aren’t these the people who gang-raped a 14-year-old girl, like those who gang-raped the 12-year-old in Okinawa, in both cases protected by their chain of command? And what kind of barbarians take wives and daughters hostage anyway? Didn’t they used to think the Nazis were such awful people because they did such things?
Why does Paris Hilton have more traction with American audiences than Iraqi prisoners? That’s easy, and it has nothing to do with the nefarious media.
Paris Hilton is foxy, and slutty, and rich. Men can fantasize about having her, and women can fantasize about being her, or maybe not being her.
It’s not nearly as entertaining to think about Iraqi prisoners, because that means to think about just what you’re supporting when you “support our troops,” nearly half of whom actually say that they approve of torture, and who shamelessly sing songs like “Haji Girl” – and all with the hearty approval of their chain of command, who for the most part are even perfectly OK with their own women soldiers being raped and abused. To paraphrase Roger Taney in the Dred Scott decision, how much more then do Iraqis have no rights that any American is bound to respect?
You can be sure that the real support for torture and other barbarities is even higher than stated in the polls of American soldiers, since nobody says yes to such questions who believe no, while many will say no when their true answer is yes.