Sunday, February 25, 2007

On Friday, The New York Times ran the picture above, of Jose Padilla wearing noise-cancelling headphones and blackout goggles. We first saw this image in December, when it was pulled from a Pentagon video. We were told at the time that this sensory-deprivation regimen was imposed on Padilla for a trip to the dentist.

When I saw this picture again, one thing that occurred to me was that in 2004 everyone from Charles Colson to Susan Sontag was telling us that what we saw in the photos from Abu Ghraib was the work of kids from the sticks who were hopped up on Internet S&M porn. Never mind the fact that the techniques used in Abu Ghraib came from the top and migrated to Abu Ghraib from Guantanamo -- we still encounter the porn-inspired-Appalachian-kids theory, and not always from the far right.

So, er, who were the porn-drunk holler-dwellers who put that gear on Padilla? That's as S&M as anything we saw at Abu Ghraib -- was that also the work of a few bad apples high on dirty pictures?

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