Invisible empire: Visual culture, embodied spectacle, and Abu Ghraib

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Content: Invisible Empire: Visual Culture, Embodied Spectacle, and Abu Ghraib Nicholas Mirzoeff When the photographs taken in the Iraqi prison of Abu Ghraib became public in April 2004, it seemed as if the deployment of the visual media as a weapon by the United States had suffered its inevitable blowback. That is to say, like so many other intelligence assets, the visual image had now turned around to damage its presumed masters. Yet during the subsequent U.S. presidential election campaign, Abu Ghraib never became an issue, so that it was not even mentioned in the debates. Paradoxically, these photographs seem to have remained invisible in the United States even as they were circulated around the world. What Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have called "Empire" seeks for military control of all means of visible and invisible communications,1 known as "full spectrum dominance," to produce a doubled effect.2 For while the opponents of the war felt that the photographs from Abu Ghraib revealed its truth as torture and barbarism, its supporters could look at the photographs and recognize what was being done as the performance of the new imperial masculinity. Such masculinity is created by its negative differentiation with sodomy, a polyvalent and flexible term. In the Abu Ghraib photographs, sodomy was visualized as embodied spectacle, a mass of alterity that confirmed the long-standing sense of the "Oriental" as deviant. Responding to that spectacle requires a new form of politics. Radical History Review Issue 95 (spring 2006): 21­44 Copyright 2006 by MARHO: The Radical Historians' Organization, Inc. 21
22 Radical History Review Visual Culture and Empire Perhaps the very expectation that the photographs would reveal the inner truth to the war was at fault. It betrays a modernist sensibility that the documentary or straight photograph could capture and express what Henri Cartier-Bresson famously called the "decisive moment" as indexical truth. By contrast, visual culture as a field of study engages with the proliferation of visual media, visuality, and visualization that are hegemonic in this era of globalization as events in themselves. Visual culture both describes and creates networks of visual events in which time and space are questions, not answers. The question that visual culture is now called to answer is thus how to understand and critique the visuality of globalization in the age of empire. By empire I intend Hardt and Negri's sense of an all-embracing world system of global capital that is distinct from traditional territorial imperialism: "Empire establishes no territorial center of power and does not rely on fixed boundaries or barriers. It is a decentered and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open expanding frontiers."3 From 1991 to 2000, it seemed that globalization was being driven by the boundary-dissolving "flows" that Arjun Appadurai identified as the signature of electronic globalization.4 That is to say, the shift from the hierarchical nation-state to a networked or rhizome culture seemed to engender a desire for visualization as the sensory mode most appropriate to the emergent globalization. For while the body stubbornly refused to be in more than one place at once, a networked visuality allowed us a measure of real-time global experience. In this view, such shifts as that from code-based computing to a visual and iconic Graphical User Interface were metonymic of the broader transformation of print capitalism to electronic or immaterial labor. However, it now seems that the driving force behind global visuality was not an emancipatory digital culture but a mode of permanent war based on full spectrum dominance.5 It is of course common knowledge that the Internet itself is at its core the ARPAnet, a system devised to ensure permanent communication in the event of a nuclear war. This Cold War inheritance reminds us, as Paul Edwards has pointed out, that networks can be closed systems as well as open source.6 In short, what visual culture needs to recognize is that its challenge is not to evolve a mode of technoformalism, but to provide tactics and strategies for the visual subject in the era of global war. By the visual subject I mean a person who is both the agent of sight--regardless of his or her biological abilities to see--and an object of certain discourses of visuality. The televisual war spectator is a good example of this visual subject, flicking channels in search of the "truth," in the full knowledge that we were not being permitted to see what was happening unless it favored the American narrative of events, and yet not able or willing to cease watching for fear of missing that elusive something that would allow a different story to be told. In the state of permanent war, the object of surveillance enters an interstitial state between being and nonbeing, epitomized by the camps at Guantбnamo Bay,
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 23 Bagram, and Abu Ghraib. In the classic analysis of the subject by Louis Althusser, the police call out to us, "Hey, you there," and in acknowledging that hail, we are constituted within ideology.7 Althusser's former colleague Jacques Ranciиre has argued that the police now say to us, "`Move along, there's nothing to see.'" The police interpellate the Western subject not as an individual but as part of traffic, which must move on by that which is not to be seen, the object, or nonsubject. Ranciиre argues that this insistence on circulation means that politics now "consists in transforming that space of circulation into the space of the manifestation of a subject . . . . It is a dispute about the division of what is perceptible to the senses."8 Insofar as that dispute concerns the visual, necessarily interfaced with the other senses, this politics of bringing the embodied subject into presence in space is visual culture. By extension, a key "contact zone" for those wanting to contest empire is now visual culture in its fullest sense, ranging from global visual media like CNN to the Internet and photography.9 Because when the police say there is nothing to see, we do not believe them--nor are we supposed to. Rather, we know perfectly well that there is something to see, but that we are not authorized to see it. For all the mass proliferation of images, the visuality of war remains profoundly undemocratic. The embedded journalists showed what was permitted to be shown, so that, for example, of the twenty thousand air raids on Iraq, journalists witnessed about one hundred. Here we can begin to see why Abu Ghraib has remained invisible. For even though the photographs that were made public were shocking enough, it is known that there are others, including video, that involved rape and even death and that were shown only to members of Congress. But the media and the general public in the United States both accepted that they had no right or need to see these images, although the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit to have all 144 photographs submitted by Specialist Joseph M. Darby to Army investigators made public. Needless to say, this situation is reversed elsewhere, perhaps especially in Iraq itself. Photographs At the same time, Abu Ghraib shows that the image, or better, the visual event, in global visual culture is not so easily unmasked, its mere visibility accounting for relatively little. For no senior figure has yet been held to account for the criminal activity of Coalition forces. Official reports, such as the Fay-Jones report of May 2004, designate the ordinary soldiers as wholly responsible, "morally corrupt" individuals.10 Although lack of supervision was then also held to be a cause, the chief intelligence officer in Iraq at the time of the Abu Ghraib incidents was exonerated in March 2005 by the Army as being "not particularly engaged in the interrogation techniques."11 So what had been culpable negligence becomes grounds for acquittal in short order, even though it might be asked how one can be "not particularly engaged" in an activity that is one's area of responsibility. These outcomes show that the Abu Ghraib photographs were not simply documents in the everyday sense
24 Radical History Review of the term. To be exact, they were not even photographs in the analog sense of a chemical reaction to light but instead were, for the most part, digital renditions of light that were circulated as electronic data whose authenticity was nonetheless never questioned. In the first days of the scandal in 2004, it was widely claimed that the photographs were made to serve as instruments of torture in disseminating the humiliations of the victims. But the Army claims that the cameras used were all personal, and it does seem unlikely that the chain of command would have wanted such damning evidence preserved.12 Further, it quickly emerged that Iraqis already had extensive information about what was happening in the prison before the visual records became available. Western reporters simply did not place credence in the oral testimony of the conquered. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had also posted warnings about abuses in the prison, but these were equally disregarded. Clearly, in an age of rumor and endless Web-based speculation, visual evidence is still the most convincing and powerful form, despite the widespread understanding that such images can easily be manipulated. At the same time, for all the secrecy in the Western public sphere about what was happening, visual images of all kinds circulated freely within the prison. The notorious photograph of naked men formed into a pyramid was used as a screensaver on a computer at the Internet cafй at the prison.13 Soldiers repeatedly remarked on seeing files of photographs documenting abuse on the camp computers, from where they were clearly e-mailed to others, as well as seeing them in general circulation in the prison.14 Video footage showing sex between guards and women inmates was shown off to other military police (514), while the prisoners were aware that "everyone was taking pictures of this whole thing with cameras" (508). The torture at Abu Ghraib had, then, been widely seen and disseminated by the time the American media finally became aware of it. That boundary between seeing and not being allowed to see delineated the sphere of the militarized visual image and those authorized to see it. The photographs were taken as a record of the dominance of the photographers over physical and corporal space and time. In some of the photographs, the view is from a level above the torture itself, which, as Allen Feldman has noted, is the viewpoint of surveillance rather than of participation.15 The photographer may well have been a member of CACI International or Titan Inc., the private corrections corporations whose use has prevented a formal draft at great expense.16 What hap-
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 25 pened here was excessive but not uncontrolled, the deployment of techniques by which people became embodied spectacle. For the police, as represented here by the Army reservists, the body is only a spectacle, a mode of domination made visible as necessary. As Hardt and Negri put it: "Torture is one central point of contact between police action and war; the torture techniques used in the name of police prevention take on all the characteristics of military action."17 Much of this torture is as invisible as the war of which it is a metonym. For example, in January 2004, one detainee at Guantбnamo, Mamdouh Habib, filed suit in a federal district court to prevent his second rendition to Egypt, where he asserts that he was tortured for six months in 2001.18 What seemed extraordinary has since been revealed as widespread, almost common, practice, with suspects even being sent to regimes otherwise considered hostile, such as Syria. The extensive violence practiced by American investigators in Afghanistan, Cuba, and Iraq, while utterly deplorable and illegal, has remained similarly invisible for the most part.19 For all its profound consequences and sickening details, this physical torture conducted in secret is in itself familiar enough and has been analyzed by scholars like Elaine Scarry.20 In this article, I therefore concentrate on the Abu Ghraib images that show sexualized abuse because they are the most representative of the change in the relationship among torture, prisoner, nation-state, and empire. Spectacle It took care and forethought to arrange naked detainees into pyramids in which the individual body degrades into piles of flesh. The first photograph above might have marked the beginning of one of these human ziggurats, one of the many efforts by the occupying force to ensure that Saddam Hussein's glorification of the ancient Assryo-Babylonian past was negated.21 The photographs from Abu Ghraib have been presented to us in suitably blurred form so that we cannot see the care with which the torturers made sure that each man had his penis touching the buttocks of the man below. This desire to obscure the guards' practice, rather than any belated concern for Islamic sensibility, motivated the digital erasure of this contact. Prisoners were also compelled to masturbate, with the achievement of an erection being both required and a humiliation in the eyes of the torturers. It is this doubling
26 Radical History Review that has made Lynndie England's cry of "He's getting hard" seem so emblematic of the process. Her desire to see the subaltern body perform its deviance rendered the invisible deficiency of the Oriental into space, a visibility whose effectiveness depended precisely on its being kept formally invisible from those not authorized to see. From here it was a short but necessary step to the enforced masquerade of same-sex erotics. For as Roderick Ferguson has put it: "As a technology of race, U.S. citizenship has historically ascribed heteronormativity (universality) to certain subjects and nonheteronormativity (particularity) to others."22 Following this logic, in order for the inferiority of the "Hajis," as the U.S. soldiers refer to all those they encounter in the Middle East, to be made visible, they must perform their own deviance. In this example, the supposed performer of fellatio is obscured so that the viewer cannot tell exactly what is happening, while another man behind seems to be masturbating. A third man holds his hooded head in his hands in seeming disbelief, with the corporate logo of CBS obscuring his body. What was at stake in these recreations? As Linda Williams has argued, hard-core (straight) pornography is a frenzy of the visible that desires to make sexuality into visuality.23 The two men in the foreground seem to be set up to mimic visible ejaculation, known as the money shot in the industry. This shot epitomizes pornography's desire to make everything visible, making orgasm visible rather than concealed within or by another person's body. Yet the use of this straight visual vernacular to create what the military understood to be deviant scenarios suggests that the scene was in fact about the construction of straight imperial sexuality by negative differentiation. So to argue, as Susan Sontag and others have done, that pornography was in some sense the cause of Abu Ghraib would not be a small matter.24 It would suggest that the imperial body is best represented pornographically and understands itself as acting within pornographic scenarios of power. How would one define pornography in this context? As Lynn Hunt has argued, the emergence of the term was intimately connected with the development of modernity. The separation of a distinct category of pornogra-
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 27 phy "was invented in response to the perceived menace of the democratization of culture."25 The idea of pornography suggested that democracy should be limited in regard to access to visual imagery, for the aristocracy has always had its salacious images. The secret pornography of torture at Abu Ghraib was in this sense a representation of the very erotics of global power, in which only certain actors have permission to look and to create what is to be seen. At the same time, the pictures were produced by the military fascination with pornography as manifested by its use at Guantбnamo Bay. The FBI was circulating concerns within the U.S. government about "extreme interrogation techniques" being used at Guantбnamo as early as May 2002.26 At Guantбnamo, interrogation techniques were at first both "heterosexual" and "homosexual." In accounts obtained from released British detainees, now backed up by a report of the International Committee of the Red Cross and files released under a freedom of information request by the ACLU, female interrogators would allegedly show their breasts to detainees, come on to the men sexually, and show them (straight) pornography.27 Male interrogators would suggest to the prisoners that good behavior could be rewarded by access to pornography or even prostitutes. Other allegations have described a "hell room" covered with pornographic images. By contrast, and most strikingly with reference to Abu Ghraib, prisoners allege being shown videos of men dressed in orange jumpsuits being compelled to have sex with each other and being told that they would face similar assaults if they did not cooperate.28 In Abu Ghraib, the prisoners were indeed forced to enact same-sex erotic tableaux. Given that the use of violence at Abu Ghraib followed the transfer of Major General Geoffrey Miller from Guantбnamo with the explicit aim to "Gitmo-ize" the Iraqi camp,29 it seems more than likely that the reservists were following the strategy of sodomitical humiliation at the suggestion of certain military or intelligence agencies. It appears as if the military decided that such sodomitical threats were more effective than the straight incentives. Given that the photographs produced by British soldiers at Camp Bread Basket reproduce exactly the same scenarios as those seen at Abu Ghraib, one should go further and say that the use of sodomitical humiliation constituted an international coalition policy, with links to the torture of IRA suspects in Northern Ire- land, Palestinians in Israel, and indeed to Kenyan prisoners held by the British Colonial forces during the Mau Mau rebellion of 1953, who were sodomized and even castrated. It surely beggars belief that ordinary soldiers and reservists from Shropshire, England, and
28 Radical History Review rural Maryland devised such striking visual tactics independently and to exactly the same ends. So, despite the interface, rather than pornography, the name one should give to the enacted blend of power and thanatos represented here is enforced sodomy. Sodomy does not denote or connote consensual pleasure, fantasy, or desire, except under the pressure of reverse appropriation. In the latter sense, queer theory has investigated discourses of sodomy in relation to the genealogy of the homosexual. In such instances as Judith Halberstam's "perverse presentism," legal cases and medical archives are read "against the grain" to yield information about subcultural and sexual practice.30 Whereas such genealogical scholarship seeks to understand the taxonomies constraining and enabling sexual practice, in the present case, sodomy denotes and connotes a hegemonic power relation that classifies certain practices and bodies as deviant. As has been widely noted, defining those practices leads to "utter confusion,"31 as they range from male-female oral sex to bestiality, via socalled miscegenation. This sense of the sodomitical as everything the proper, civilized person is not manifests itself in several of the more extraordinary images, such as that of a prisoner smeared with what appears to be excrement and the notorious photograph of Lynndie England holding a prisoner on a leash. The obvious amusement of the guard in this photograph shows that the prisoner's condition is not a protest, analogous to the hunger strikes and other forms of resistance that have taken place in Abu Ghraib and Guantбnamo. The thinking is rather simple: Iraqi resisters are animals or shit, so treat them as such (the widespread assertion that England's use of a leash is S/M-derived can only be formally accurate because S/M relies on con sent, which was clearly not obtained). For despite the semiological variety, there is little doubt in the police mind as to the occurrence of sodomy, which is held to be obvious when it happens, rather than in its definitions. Sodomy is, then, what the imperial subject is not. The presence in one photograph of Specialists Charles Graner and England posing as a dating couple behind a sodomitical pile of prisoners is a trophy not of deviance, but of the assertion of the imperial body, necessarily straight and white, over the confused sodomitical mass of the embodied spectacle that is the object of empire.
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 29 These piles of bodies can be called sodomitical because their architects took care to ensure that each man's penis was touching the buttocks of the man underneath, as reported by the civilian U.S. translator Adel Nakhla: "They made them do strange exercises by sliding on their stomach, jump up and down, throw water on them and made them some wet, called them all kinds of names such as `gays,' do they like to make love to guys, then they handcuffed their hands together and their legs with shackles and started to stack them on top of each other by insuring that the bottom guy's penis will touch the guy on top's butt."32 Such intimate touching denies its own queerness by asserting that sodomy is only and can only be the property of the deviant other. England's pregnancy, conceived with Graner during the period in which the photographs were taken, became an affirmation of this negative differentiation. England's visible performance of a certain femininity was, then, critical to the maintenance of the U.S. Army as an institution of heteronormativity, even as it enforced sodomy on others. Despite this plethora of visibilities and invisibilities, there is another mode of invisibility attached to these photographs: the very desire to see such violence enacted, recorded, and disseminated has become invisible and unsayable, even as it is everywhere in American culture. There is, of course, a long history of making subaltern bodies suffer for the pleasure of dominant groups in America. The Abu Ghraib photographs formally evoke the photographs made of lynchings, especially in the visible pleasure experienced by the torturers. For many viewers the restraint hoods even recalled the Ku Klux Klan, although the Klan would have been the agents rather than the victims of torture. This secret pleasure, widespread as it is, cannot be publicly acknowledged, even by the most conservative administration America has yet experienced. Indeed, as Hazel Carby has pointed out, in their mode of address and dissemination, the photographs at Abu Ghraib are crucially unlike lynching photographs, despite the apparent similarities.33 Lynching was in all senses a public and visible event. Special trains were laid on to the most celebrated lynchings, while newspapers ran special editions and the photographs taken were quickly
30 Radical History Review produced as postcards and sent across the country by mail. While such souvenirs may be hidden now, in the heyday of American segregation their visibility was precisely the point. It was the sight in a shop window of the preserved knuckles of Sam Hose, a man who had been lynched in Atlanta, that drove W. E. B. Du Bois into a career of activism.34 By contrast, the photographs of Abu Ghraib were intended only for the consumption of the Army and its associates. The public interpellation of the racialized subject by the trophies of lynching has been replaced by the invisible visibility of a police culture that claims that there is nothing to see while circulating its pixelated documents of imperial hierarchy around the Internet. Sodomy, Strategy, and Specters Far from constituting the accidental, this representation of enforced sodomy is that chosen by the military itself. For the Pentagon could have released a wider range of photographs, also depicting assaults on women and children, which Seymour Hersh has shown to exist.35 For example, allegations made by a woman prisoner against the 519 Military Intelligence Battalion at Abu Ghraib (not the 320 Battalion seen in all the photographs) claim that on October 7, 2003, "inside the cell, one of the soldiers held her hands behind her back while another soldier forcibly kissed her. . . . The soldiers took her out of the cell and took her downstairs, where they showed her a naked Iraqi man and told her that if she did not do what they said, then they would take her clothes off and make her look like the Iraqi man. . . . Ms. [REDACTED] stated the [soldier] removed her shirt, leaving her in her bra."36 Another prisoner named Maleem Fidel Mohammed from Kandahar, Afghanistan, is reported to have complained of being forced into "sexual acts with dogs." The Department of Defense document laconically notes that "there has been an increase in sexual related remarks in regards to U.S. and Coalition treatment of detainees and other Afghan nationals. This is likely in response to the attention received from Iraqi prisoners."37 As this note suggests, the official presentation of imperial torture as the application of sodomy to Islamic men by white men and women again has a Western rather than an Islamic or Iraqi audience in mind. Far from humiliating the prisoners so much that they confessed, the torture has given fresh rationales to anti-American discourse around the world. But within the United States, by representing the Iraqi male as sodomitical, the images have been found repellent but not impeachable. In adopting this strategy of calling the conquered sodomites, the global empire has reverted to the rhetorics of imperialism proper and the colonial expansion that preceded it. The representation of the subjugated as sodomitical is a spectral return of similar, if not identical, crises during post-1492 colonial and imperial expansion. Writing about the return of premodern models of sovereignty implied by the suspension of law at Guantбnamo Bay, Judith Butler has observed that "the historical time that we thought was past turns out to structure the contemporary field with a persistence that gives the lie to history as chronology."38 Jonathan Goldberg
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 31 and Richard Trexler have shown how the belief that the whole Indigenous population was composed of sodomites served as a means of justifying and necessitating early modern colonial expansion in the Atlantic world.39 In the era of slavery, Africans and Jews alike were represented as sodomitical, as in the 1681 Jesuit representation of the Jews of Martinique as practicing "both incest and the most detestable of crimes," that is to say, sodomy.40 This figuring of Africans and Jews as embodied spectacle was one source of their "secret affinity" expressed in biblical hermeneutics that held Africans to be like the Jews in Babylon. This structure of feeling had long life: when Frantz Fanon wrote his now notorious footnote on homosexuality in Martinique, it came in the context of a passage explicitly comparing Africans and Jews.41 By virtue of its performance of identity as negative differentiation, the representation of sodomy operates like that, in triangulating and supplementary fashion, however hard its legislators try to reduce it to a single meaning. Nor was this interaction of imperialism and sodomy limited to the Atlantic world. Kathleen Wilson has shown that same-sex desire created a critical point of unknowability in European expansion into the South Pacific, in which the boundaries between the object and the subject of such desires remained unclear.42 During the French Revolution that crisis had the name de Sade, while during the scramble for Africa it was Oscar Wilde who saw a chance to disorientalize same-sex attraction. As the Marquis de Sade himself put it: "If we discover a hemisphere, we will find sodomy there. Cook sailed into a new world: there it was king. If our balloons floated to the moon, we would find it there as well."43 De Sade's universalism is not what I intend here. I suggest rather that as long as we remain under the sway of Hegel's dialectic--as Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek in their different ways insist that we are--the moment of imperial crisis necessarily entails a recurrent if not constant crisis of corporal definition between the body of the master and that of the slave. More precisely still, if, as Hardt and Negri put it, it is not reality that is dialectical but colonialism, then the recurrence of corporal crisis is one index that empire in their sense remains entangled with colonialism. This crisis is hauntological, rather than ontological, to use Derrida's distinction, the sign that the time is out of joint.44 Now while the U.S. military is not usually thought of as composed of dialecticians, the violence at Abu Ghraib did in one sense directly intend to reenact this performance of Euro-American domination. Declassified CIA and Army interrogation manuals make it clear that the point of all humiliation was to break down what the military understands as the civilized veneer of the mind to break through to the supposedly primitive core, where resistance is less effective. Here the Army was using a reductive version of Freud, who held that the so-called primitive mind was childlike and infantile.45 In Army field manual 34-52, titled Intelligence Interrogation, interrogation practice is represented as being consistent from World War II to the present, evidenced by the reproduction of forms from the Korean War. The first principle of
32 Radical History Review the manual is that "an individual's value system is easier to bypass immediately after undergoing a significant trauma experience."46 The manual outlines a series of procedures that can be used to induce such an experience. Here the key approaches were "Fear-Up (Harsh)," and especially "Pride and Ego Down." In the first case, Fear-Up (Harsh) is designed "to convince the source he does indeed have something to fear; that he has no option but to cooperate" (sec. 3-16). The other scenario was more combative still. In Pride and Ego Down, the goal is to destroy "the source's sense of personal worth. Any source who shows any real or imagined inferiority or weakness about himself . . . can easily be broken with this approach technique" (sec. 3-18). Very little supplementary detail was provided to guide the soldier as to how these conditions might be achieved. Both FBI agents and the soldiers engaged in the torture at Abu Ghraib believed that the interrogation methods were consistent with Pride and Ego Down.47 So, for example, one prisoner found credible by the Taguba report recalled being assaulted by Charles Graner. Graner forced him to eat pork and drink alcohol before he was stripped naked and forced to stand holding his buttocks "in shameful position." He was threatened with rape and then asked: "`Do you believe in anything?' I said to him `I believe in Allah.' So he said `But I believe in torture and I will torture you.'"48 Torture and sodomy were explicitly linked by Graner into a frame for destroying the prisoner's belief in Islam. In so doing, Graner clearly believed that he was acting within Army guidelines and, given that Iraqi prisoners were not held to be protected by the Geneva Conventions, he may well have been. Further, to subject the Iraqis to enforced sodomy was to performatively enact a hierarchy of civilization designed to compel the primitive to speak as the primitive. By reversing their earlier strategy of using women or pornography to entice men and turning to the staging of sodomy, the Army expressed its own belief that any same-sex practice is more primitive and deviant than even the most unusual heterosexual act. Indeed, it is striking that in all discussions of sodomy, temporal and spatial narratives become radically disrupted. In the recent Supreme Court case decriminalizing sodomy, Lawrence et al. v. Texas, as well as its notorious predecessor Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) that upheld its criminality, the rulings have discoursed on millennia of opinion, citing Henry VIII's 1533 statute with as much ease as modern law (although Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in Lawrence was highly critical of the sloppy use of precedent in Bowers). For the Religious Right, Babylon must be overthrown, in part because of its propensity to sodomy and to render the Israelites sodomitical. This concatenation is most evident in the book of Isaiah, cited by Bush on the U.S. Abraham Lincoln, in the notorious "mission accomplished" speech. If anyone doubts that such coded references are used, remember Bush's deliberate evocation of the 1857 Dred Scott case in the presidential debates, code to opponents of Roe that he would in fact overturn it. Seeking an effective definition of sodomy, I turned to Jonathan Goldberg's now classic Sodometries (1992), only to be surprised
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 33 to rediscover that the book opens with a discussion of the sodomitical discourse that surrounded the Gulf War of 1991. Analyzing the pop culture of the period, Goldberg concluded that in order to defend a proper masculinity, "`America' says, `we will sodomize.'"49 While the first Gulf War kept its violence largely secret, the hyperdissemination of digital culture has made it possible to literally see America engaging in just that sodomizing in Abu Ghraib. The recurrence of this trope in the second Gulf War, even as the Supreme Court reversed its decision during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, suggests that more than coincidence is at work. Sodomy is deployed as and by biopower precisely when the imperial body itself is open to question. As such, the imperial body that sodomizes its other must be constitutionally inviolable in itself, leading to the apparently contradictory but in fact massively reinforcing wave of antigay marriage laws. By setting aside human rights in Iraq, it becomes possible and necessary to envisage legislation of all kinds redefining human rights in the United States. Similarly, by failing to campaign against these violations as human rights offences, the Democratic Party could no longer resist the homophobic ballot initiatives. Further, these initiatives were in no sense limited to domestic politics but were fully international. For example, conservative columnists criticized the British hostage Kenneth Bigley for appearing "ignoble and unmanly" in the videos in which he pleaded for his life. In this view, a phantasmatic noble manliness is counterposed as the agency of empire that no imperial body should betray. My argument here might itself be critiqued as lending unwitting support to homophobia: at the very moment in which sodomy has been decriminalized, should one even mention the term, let alone its old, dangerous associations with deviance and alterity? Unfortunately, Justice Antonin Scalia's vigorous dissent (joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and William Rehnquist) from Lawrence left such associations very much current. Labeling the decision a "massive disruption of the current social order," Scalia claimed that by refusing to make what he termed a "moral choice," the court was invalidating all laws against "bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity." This reactionary blueprint for a Scalia-led Supreme Court is already being deployed by the radical Right, and sodomy's chain of association is still in effect. Issue 1 passed in Ohio in November 2004 denied benefits to all those not formally married, while defining marriage as being between a man and a woman and excluding unmarried straight couples, as well as queer couples, from benefit provisions. Rather than counter the deviance of sodomy with the normality of marriage, and without abandoning people's right to form whatever union they want, an antihomophobic politics needs to emphasize that sodomy is constitutive of heteronormative identity by means of negative differentiation. As a legal constraint on practice rather than a chosen name for desire, sodomy is, then, entirely irrelevant to the plurality of sexual identities signified by queer, and indeed to all those who feel themselves constrained by the dictates of the normal.50
34 Radical History Review Network Bodies and Enforced Sodomy The imperial body itself can only be a phantasm. In a provocative but undeveloped phrase, Hardt and Negri have suggested that globalization creates a multitude with a "network body."51 The multitude has "living flesh" that challenges the Leviathan of the body politic. The boundaries between these two conceptual bodies are necessarily flexible. For instance, a person can be part of the multitude and then join the Army and gain access to the body politic. As such, the imperial body is potentially open to links--whether authorized or not--to hacking, and to the pleasures of dissemination. To render the multitude's network body subject to laws of sodomy is to reassert the spatial control of the nation-state over the virtual network. The permanent state of exception demands a revived nation-state with absolute control over its borders and citizens even as it pursues total freedom for capital. These paradoxes make it possible at one and the same time to have the following: depictions of Abu Ghraib are held to be especially shaming to Arab men, even as Governor James McGreevey and the Republican representative Ed Shrock had to resign at the mere imputation of homosexuality to their names; America revels in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, even as the male use of moisturizer creates an entirely new category of sexuality, the so-called metrosexual; sodomy is decriminalized by the same majority of the Supreme Court that elected George W. Bush, who was reelected on the grounds of superior masculinity, all but defined as penis size, while opposing gay marriage. If all this sounds utterly confused, so it is: and so enter sodomy. Sodomy produces the embodied spectacle of deviant alterity as a reassurance to the imperial body that it has remained itself, despite the confusions of virtual and networked subjectivity. That is to say, the imperial subject may be confused, but it is not and cannot be a sodomite, whereas the colonized and subaltern are always already sodomitical, whether or not they practice it. Enforced sodomy is a ritual of American masculinity in all its disciplinary institutions from the prison, to the Armed Forces, to the church and the school. The Catholic Church in America continues to unravel from the revelations of sexual abuse that, in the case of the Los Angeles archdiocese, date back to 1931. Settlements of tens of millions of dollars have been paid, although some dioceses have sought to evade them by seeking bankruptcy protection, a cynical strategy that did not prevent Catholic bishops from declaring John Kerry immoral. Sodomy is a disavowed but nonetheless widely understood consequence of the U.S. prison industrial system. In the state of Texas alone, there were 635 complaints of sexual assault in state prisons in 2003­4. For a prisoner to risk calling attention to himself in this way, the offence can only be significant but is evidently also routine. These assaults were of course reenacted at Abu Ghraib, as they had been in the earlier assault on the Haitian Abner Louima by New York City police. During the occupation of Iraq, this culture emerged into a scandal in the prosperous middle-class suburban town of Mepham on the south shore of Long Island, New York, which epitomizes the new
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 35 America of big-box stores, McMansions, and SUVs.52 In September 2003, a hazing scandal became public at its top-ranked--that is to say, almost entirely white--high school. At a preseason football training camp, several of the freshmen students were sexually assaulted by older boys. The thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys were sodomized with broomsticks, pine cones, and golf balls, a fact discovered only when one of the victims had to be hospitalized. The attackers were eventually prosecuted and received juvenile sentences. However, the victims were taunted in school and on the street as "broomstick boys" who had enjoyed their assault, which creates a parallel to the taunting at Abu Ghraib. In fact, broomsticks were among the weapons deployed to sodomize the Abu Ghraib detainees. So when Rush Limbaugh said that Abu Ghraib was a form of hazing, he was being more than usually accurate. But he attributed that hazing not to a suburban high school but to Skull and Bones, the exclusive Yale fraternity of which George W. Bush was a member. Here sodomy refuses to remain stable as the deviance of the enemy. For while Muslims have been figured as sodomites by Western discourse since the Middle Ages, as Edward Said has pointed out, there is almost as long a tradition in the West denoting aristocrats as sodomites.53 For example, the Victorian explorer Richard Burton, famous for passing as Muslim into Mecca itself, held that in what he termed the "Sotadic Zone," a geographic region running around the warmer regions of the world and embracing the whole of Mesopotamia, sodomy was "popular and endemic, held to be at worst a mere pecadillo."54 But he also thought that the British aristocracy was contaminated by the practice, connected to the readmission of the Jews in 1646, and epitomized when he was writing by the intersection of Lord Alfred Douglas and Oscar Wilde. Limbaugh's peculiar language thus reflected the imperial anxiety that even its most rigid enforcers will be revealed as sodomites and that power is not owned but exercised and may be reversed. For all the violence represented by the photographs from Abu Ghraib, the reelection of John Howard in Australia, of George W. Bush in the United States, and the third election victory of Britain's Tony Blair shows that what was seen was not enough to challenge confidence in the governments responsible. In short, to use the language of visual aesthetics, what was seen was assented to. Why is imperial masculinity so central to Anglophone electorates? Following Hardt and Negri's assertion that empire, the current state of global capital, is not the creature of the United States but vice versa,55 one can begin to see how the United States has the twin role of the empire's consumer engine and its army. In the retro Oedipal culture of what New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd calls "Bushworld," these functions are gendered as feminine and masculine respectively. In this insistently heteronormative environment, shopping was the one response to 9/11 that citizens were called on to undertake by their government, while the Army took care of the wars. As in a clichйd 1950s marriage, American consumers stay home while its Army goes to work, and they are presumed to live happily ever after. When right-wing
36 Radical History Review apologists insist that marriage proper is between a man and a woman, their fulminations are haunted by this other marriage а la mode, the global dynamic of America's place in empire. While Americans may not be familiar with trade statistics, anyone with any connection to manufacturing knows that all jobs in the field are heading, or have already gone, to China. As consumers, Americans know the first weekend box-office take of their favorite movies, the performance of stores over the holidays, and measure their sense of prosperity in relation to the equity of their homes and the potential of their 401(k) accounts. That is to say, sustaining America's place as the leading nation within empire depends on the doubled performance of feminized consumers and masculine soldiers of all genders. All those who refuse this performance, whether domestic queers or overseas insurgents, must be denied if the selfsustaining imaginary of empire as equivalent to the United States is to continue. Reflections In these circumstances, how should the Abu Ghraib regime of empire be contested? Without trying to respond to all the questions about the future of radical politics hereby posed, let me suggest that it might be possible to disrupt the imaginary means by which the Anglophone coalition represents itself to itself as empire, in both Hardt and Negri's sense and the traditional one. Such work should have both theoretical and practical aspects. Abu Ghraib's imperial regime of sodomy can be understood as a means of disciplining the body into a hierarchy in which the sodomitical--the anal, the oral, the animal--is subjugated to vision as the noblest sense, a disembodied intellectual force. This distinction is the famous mind-body divide, usually attributed to Renй Descartes, who gave visual examples to make it clear. Descartes showed that a perspective drawing renders a circle as an oval but that the mind corrects the sensory perception and understands what is depicted as a circle.56 This division between the senses and the mind has become embodied as Western common sense, so naturalized that it is hard to think of other ways of being. Empire renders this divide spatially, so that America becomes "mind" and the rest of the world, especially the Muslim world, becomes "body." It is for this reason that the assertion of the importance of visual culture in its various forms is often found so enraging by radicals. But to point out how empire imagines itself is not to endorse its goals. It is for this reason that much contemporary art, performance, and critical theory has challenged the subordination of the body that senses to the mind that judges. In this regard, the example of Baruch Spinoza offers a different way to create a genealogy of embodiment that challenges the sense of the mind-body divide as both natural and long-standing.57 Spinoza held that "the object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, or, a certain actually existing mode of extension, and nothing else."58 That is to say, it is the actually existent body that shapes the
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 37 mind and vice versa, rather than some idealized abstraction. Spinoza thus placed the mind and body in parallel, refusing to simply reverse Descartes's polarity and make the body superior to the mind. Rather, as Gilles Deleuze put it, "it is a matter of showing that the body surpasses the knowledge that we have of it, and that thought likewise surpasses the consciousness that we have of it."59 This Parallel Processing was networked by Spinoza's geometry of movement and extension into a network body that sees. That difference was precisely the result of Spinoza's multiple experience of exile in the Atlantic world, signified by his doubled name. He was both Bento d'Espinosa, a Sephardic Jew in exile from Spain, and Baruch Spinoza, excommunicated and expelled from the Amsterdam Jewish community. Indeed, Spinoza's work was literally called "shit" by enraged contemporaries, aware at some level of its reversal of sensory and social hierarchies. By the same token, Spinoza knew very well that it was the Dutch, who cannibalized the bodies of the de Witt brothers after they had been killed in the street by monarchist supporters of William of Orange, who were ultimi barbarorum, the ultimate barbarians.60 Opposed by the orthodoxies of Christianity, Judaism, and Cartesianism alike, Spinoza's theory of the ethical body offers a means of constructing a genealogy of the way in which empire figures its others as the embodied spectacle. His terminology of the "singularity" that composes the "multitude" has already been instrumental in shaping Hardt and Negri's theory of empire and multitude. The authors claim that "today a manifesto, a political discourse, should aspire to fill a Spinozist prophetic function, the function of an immanent desire that organizes the multitude."61 At the level of cultural theory, one implication of this injunction would be to explore how the imagination could be of the body as well as being about the body, a venture that has been begun by the new field of disability studies.62 Imagination, as Jean-Paul Sartre argued long ago, is not simply a creature of the image or of visual perception but needs to be thought in terms of the body and the mind in symbiosis.63 Here a political engagement with the division of the senses challenges the long-standing division between bodily perception and mental judgment. Such reworkings of cultural theory may seem futile in the face of the current global violence. But the imagination is a key terrain for violence, and indeed violence appeals most effectively to the imagination. The contest for the hegemony of empire has been dramatically engaged by making instrumental use of the embodied spectacle as appropriation, most notably as the suicide bomber.64 Whatever else it is, suicide bombing is a striking new way to imagine the use of the body as an instrument of politics. Attacks like those of 9/11, or the 3/11 attack in Madrid, require a willingness to imagine devastation on a grand scale that makes the violence shown in a film like The Battle of Algiers (dir. Gillo Pontecorvo, 1968), once so shocking, seem almost without impact. The goal of such spectacle is not to overthrow empire as such, but to reconfigure it so that its hegemonic power is neo-Islamic, repre-
38 Radical History Review sented as a return to previous Islamic empires, such as the era of the caliphs of the Ottoman Empire or the domination of Spain by North African Islam. In Palestine the suicide bomber was a strategy of exception, preceded by the creation of videotaped pronouncements and completed by public mourning. In Iraq, the strategy has become general and normalized as the permanent state of exception with mostly anonymous suicide killings, often with no clear motive other than to sustain chaos. At present, both empire and its neo-Islamic opponents have an imaginary of radical alterity to each other that they have deployed effectively, whether as the Webcast killings of hostages taken in Iraq or as the Republican National Convention. The task that confronts the politics of visual culture in theory and practice is to create a new imaginary that refuses empire in all its manifestations, whether based on Christian, Islamic, or Jewish extremism. That suggests that the enterprise needs to begin with a certain refusal that could take its cue from the striking refusal of 343rd Quartermaster Company to obey an order to take contaminated oil in poorly armored vehicles to a center of the insurgency. Led by Staff Sergeant Michael Butler, who like many members of the company is African American, it has become clear that the action was nothing less than a mutiny within the U.S. Army. Discussions over the order continued for hours, not minutes, making the decision to refuse quite clearly premeditated. Yet the Army did not court-martial the men involved and replaced the company commander, seeming to acknowledge the truth of former's claims. The gesture of the 343rd is akin to the refusal of some Israelis to serve in the Occupied Territories. With extensive support from cultural and political groups, these soldiers have made an impact in Israeli society.
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 39 A similar engagement in the United States would mean a refusal to allow the entire visual field of vernacular watching to be transformed into total surveillance for presumed terrorism, epitomized on the New York City subway as "If you see something say something." In this example, U.S. Homeguard, created by the founder of, seeks to create a network of surveillance using Webcams, desktop computers, and the Internet in which students and other minimum-wage employees will constantly monitor all potential targets for terrorist action. While U.S. Homeguard is unlikely to be activated, its logic of transforming everyday life into surveillance has already been enacted. What we are offered is a choice between being a minor participant in surveillance or disappearance into the twilight zone of being its object, a choice that must be refused. Such refusal will have its costs and its consequences: the House of Representatives, for example, has passed a bill seeking to defund area studies programs that do not explicitly commit themselves to national security issues. In November 2004, the ACLU turned down $1.1 million in grants from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations rather than sign onto a blanket antiterror clause in the manner of McCarthyism. The rejection of the European Union constitution by Danish and French voters in 2005, taken with the Bolivian activism in favor of the nationalization of the gas industry, suggests that nonetheless refusal of the neoliberal Washington consensus is beginning to become an active force in global politics. Refusal can only be a first step to a reinvigorated politics that, like the contemporary itself, must blend old and new in unanticipated ways. In constructing a politics of the sensible that refuses empire in all its potential manifestations, it might be appropriate to follow the politics of decolonization in the postwar period, as Paul Gilroy has suggested.65 Before his recent lamented passing, Jacques Derrida called for the formation of a new international, dedicated to what he called alterglobalization and the cosmopolitical. He reminded us that politics is a Greek word, derived from the city states whose prosperity depended on slavery.66 For a new international to come into being, politics itself must be reimagined and reworked. To this end, he envisaged a newly empowered United Nations, located as far as possible from New York. This body could begin by simply enforcing its own conventions and treaties. One consequence would be a refusal to tolerate genocide not when the death count reaches the hundreds of thousands but at the first killing--as the 1948 convention on genocide actually requires. That would suggest that each person is of supreme value rather than waiting until political crisis has generated an embodied spectacle like those we have seen in Rwanda, Darfur, and, on a smaller but nonetheless significant scale, Abu Ghraib. In trying to engage with the contemporary, though, it is not enough to reshape the politics of the past: what is being constructed by the Bush administration is something as radically new as the Thatcher-Reagan enterprise of the 1980s and requires new responses. In this context, there is now a need to assert a claim
40 Radical History Review to visual rights. Such a claim is by no means exclusive, but it could be one way to assert in the practical domain Ranciиre's argument that the political should now be understood as a division of the sensible. At the least, it could offer a means to open the visual imagery of war and torture to a politics, rather than a police action. What are visual rights? Some time ago now, before the proliferation of global visual media, Derrida claimed the existence of a "right to look" that he determined to be "the invention of the other."67 This right to look is always vulnerable both to being subjected to the gaze and to undergoing a transposition into the law of the gaze. For Derrida's phrase, droit de regards, can be translated to mean either "the right to look" or "the law of the gaze." How a given event is conducted depends precisely on the politics of visual rights. The other is not simply a reflection of the look but rather emerges out of what Derrida calls "the infinite asymmetry of the relation to the other, that is to say, the place for justice."68 Who, then, has the right to look? The possibility of a right to look itself stems from a certain concept of rights; a metaphor of rights as visual; and the production of new bodies and new events in the post1492 world. For the practice of rights is a moment of what Ranciиre calls "dissensus: putting two worlds in one and the same world."69 The space between the human and the citizen is not one that is closed by the granting of rights but one that makes rights possible and necessary before and after they exist. Ranciиre sees a process by which subjectivation is enacted by the claim to a right that one does not have, enacted as if one did. This invention of the other cannot be by Hegel's master of the slave that takes place subject to the law of the gaze, but rather by the slaves of each other. So when a slave claimed freedom, or a Jew claimed civil rights, or Olympe de Gouges and Mary Wollstonecraft claimed equal rights as women, those rights did not legally exist but the practice of making that claim consisted in acting as if they did. Rights, then, were an immanent cause within modernity. By immanent cause, I mean a cause present only in its effects, which is not to say the cause does not exist but that it does not precede its effects. In this context, modernity means the production of new bodies and situations in the interface of worlds following 1492. New rights claims are needed in the new dynamic created by global capital and its own claim to imperial sovereignty. The claim of a right to look will not necessarily prevent other Abu Ghraibs, but it might open the means to creating a politics around such practices, rather than submitting to the counterclaim that what is seen is simply the domain of the police. The right to look could involve a variety of issues, but here are some nonexclusive suggestions: · the right to look at the obfuscated and concealed operations of globalization; · the right to be seen by the common as a counter to the possibility of being disappeared by governments; · the right to know when one is under surveillance;
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 41 · the right to access records of surveillance; · the right to visual self-representation; · the right of access to visual media; · the right to visual literacy education; · the right to a secular viewpoint. Notes My thanks to audiences at New York University, the University of Southern California, Brown University, and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2005 annual conference for comments and critiques, as well as to the Radical History Review collective and the outside reader for this issue. Every phrase in the piece is marked by Kathleen Wilson's brilliant readings of the interpenetration of gender, sexuality, nation, and empire. I have only footnoted material taken from current journalism where it is investigative or otherwise exceptional material to avoid tiring the reader with repeated footnotes to daily newspapers: all references can be found via the LexisNexis database. 1. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000). I will use Hardt and Negri's terms as being the major effort to provide a synthetic response to globalization without wishing to assent to all their proposals. 2. See Nicholas Mirzoeff, Watching Babylon: The War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture (London: Routledge 2005); Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin, 2004), 53. 3. Hardt and Negri, Empire, xii. 4. See Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996). 5. See Giorgio Agamben, The State of Exception, trans. Kevin Attell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005). 6. Paul Edwards. The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996). 7. Louis Althusser, Essays on Ideology (London: Verso, 1984), 46. 8. Jacques Ranciиre, Aux bords du politique (On the Shores of Politics) (Paris: La Fabrique, 1998), 177; quoted in Kristin Ross, May `68 and Its Afterlives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 22­23. 9. The term contact zone is borrowed from Mary Louise Pratt's study Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992). 10. Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel, eds., The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib [hereafter TP] (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 1073. 11. Eric Schmitt, "Former Intelligence Officer Cleared in Iraq Abuse," New York Times, March 12, 2005. 12. The Mikoshalek report of July 2004 makes this claim (TP, 650), whereas the earlier Taguba report had declined to even reproduce the photographs because of their "extremely sensitive nature" and so apparently as not to jeopardize prosecutions (TP, 416). 13. Statement of Luciana Spencer, Sixty-Sixth Military Intelligence Group, January 21, 2004, TP, 478. 14. See TP, 490, 492, 527, and 530.
42 Radical History Review 15. Allen Feldman, "Abu Ghraib: Ceremonies of Nostalgia," October 18, 2004, OpenDemocracy, 16. Senator Patrick Leahy and members of the House of Representatives expressed concern regarding the use of private contractors in Abu Ghraib in June 2004, but they were rebuffed with a form letter stating an investigation was underway but classified. This was released following a freedom of information request by the American Civil Liberties Union; www (accessed December 20, 2004). 17. Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 19. 18. Neil A. Lewis, "Detainee Seeking to Bar His Transfer Back to Egypt," New York Times, January 6, 2004. 19. A two-part report in the New York Times, May 20­21, 2005, on detention deaths in Afghanistan caused little stir amid the filibuster furor of the time. 20. Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985). 21. Zainab Bahrani, "The Aesthetics and Rituals of Occupation" (paper presented at the "The War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture" symposium, New York University, October 10, 2004. 22. Roderick A. Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 16. 23. See Linda Williams, Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible" (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999). 24. Susan Sontag, "Regarding the Torture of Others," New York Times Magazine, May 23, 2004, 25­28. 25. Lynn Hunt, "Introduction: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500­1800," in The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500­1800 (New York: Zone, 1993), 12­13. 26. Reference cited in FBI e-mail (authors redacted), "Document Entitled Detainee Interviews (Abusive Interrogation Issues)," May 6, 2004, released following a freedom of information request by the American Civil Liberties Union; .html (accessed December 20, 2004). 27. Neil Lewis, "Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantбnamo," New York Times, November 30, 2004. 28. See Carol D. Leonnig, "Further Detainee Abuse Alleged," Washington Post, December 26, 2004; depositions posted at the Center for Constitutional Rights Web site (; and FBI documents obtained by the ACLU at (accessed January 3, 2005). 29. Kate Zernike, "Newly Released Reports Show Early Concern on Prison Abuse," New York Times, January 6, 2005. The reports were declassified in November 2004 and posted to the ACLU Web site at 30. See Judith Halberstam, Female Masculinity (Durham, NC: DUKE UNIVERSITY Press, 1999), 50­59. 31. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage, 1978), 78. 32. Cited in the annexes to the original Taguba report on Abu Ghraib and qtd. in Hazel Carby, "A Strange and Bitter Crop: The Spectacle of Torture," November 10, 2004, OpenDemocracy, 33. Ibid. 34. See James Allen et al., eds., Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms, 2000); Philip Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching
Mirzoeff | Invisible Empire 43 of Black America (New York: Random House, 2002); and Coco Fusco and Brian Wallis, eds., Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (New York: Abrams, 2003). 35. Seymour Hersh, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), 43­44. 36. "Commander's Report of Disciplinary or Administrative Action addressed to Commander 519th MI Battalion, Abu Ghraib, with CID reports of October 7, 2003, abuse incident attached," released following a freedom of information request by the American Civil Liberties Union; (accessed December 20, 2004). Also reported in the Fay-Jones report in TP, 1073­74. 37. "Redacted Documents Related to Detainee Abuse in the Vicinity of Ghecko, Kandahar Province," July 2004, released following a freedom of information request by the American Civil Liberties Union; (accessed December 20, 2004). 38. Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, 2004), 54. 39. Richard C. Trexler, Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995); Jonathan Goldberg, Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992). 40. Jesuit memoir of 1681 reproduced in a dossier published by Abraham Cahen, "Les Juifs de la Martinique au XVIIиme siиcle" ("The Jews of Martinique in the seventeenth century"), Revue des Йtudes Juives (Journal of Jewish Studies) 2 (1881): 114­21. 41. Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles Lam Markmann (New York: Grove, 1967), 180. 42. Kathleen Wilson, The Island Race: Englishness, Empire, and Gender in the Eighteenth Century (London: Routledge, 2003), 200. 43. Marquis de Sade, La philosophie dans la boudoir (Philosophy in the Boudoir), in Oeuvres complиtes du Marquis de Sade (Complete Works of the Marquis de Sade), ed. Annie Le Brun and Jacques Pauvert (Paris: Pauvert, 1986), 13:472 (my translation). 44. See Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Routledge, 1994). 45. Mark Danner, "The Logic of Torture," New York Review of Books, June 24, 2004, www _Road_to_Torture.htm. 46. Army Field Manual 34-52 (1992), Intelligence Interrogation, sec. 3-1. 47. The Taguba report noted the role of Manual 34-52 in March 2004, TP 462­63. An FBI special agent was interviewed in Portland, Oregon, on May 18, 2004, and referenced "`Ego Up and Down' and `Fear Up and Down,'" TP, 1205. The Fay-Jones report details the use of removal of clothing as an "`ego-down' technique," TP, 1089. 48. Statement given January 16, 2004, relating to events in October 2003 at Abu Ghraib, TP, 524. 49. Goldberg, Sodometries, 4. 50. See Michael Warner, The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life (New York: Free Press, 1999). 51. Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 90. 52. See Mirzoeff, Watching Babylon, section 1. 53. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1978), 78. 54. Quoted in Joseph Boone, "Vacation Cruises; Or, the Homoerotics of Orientalism," in
4 4 Radical History Review Postcolonial, Queer: Theoretical Intersections, ed. John C. Hawley (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001), 47. 55. Hardt and Negri, Empire, xiii­xiv. 56. Renй Descartes, Discourse on the Method, ed. David Weissmann (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996). 57. For Spinoza, see Steven Nadler, Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); John Docker, 1492: The Poetics of Diaspora (New York: Continuum, 2001); Spinoza, Ethics, trans. and ed. G. H. R. Parkinson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); and Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988). 58. Spinoza, Ethics, part 2, prop. 13, 124. 59. Deleuze, Spinoza, 18. 60. Nadler, Spinoza, 304­9. 61. Hardt and Negri, Empire, 66. There is also a challenge for historians here to reconsider the so-called seventeenth-century crisis and its role in the formation of modernity. 62. See Lennard Davies, Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism, and Other Difficult Positions (New York: New York University Press, 2002), 45. 63. Jean-Paul Sartre, L'imaginaire (The Imaginary) (Paris: Gallimard, 1940). 64. Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 45. 65. Paul Gilroy, Postcolonial Melancholia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005). 66. Jacques Derrida, "Je suis en guerre contre moi-mкme" ("I Am at War with Myself"), Le Monde, August 19, 2004. 67. Jacques Derrida, Right of Inspection, trans. David Wills, photographs by Marie-Franзoise Plissart (New York: Monacelli Press, 1998); the original title was Jacques Derrida, Droit de regards (Paris: Йditions de Minuit, 1985), xxxvi. 68. Derrida, Specters of Marx, 22. 69. Jacques Ranciиre, "Who Is the Subject of the Rights of Man?" South Atlantic Quarterly 103 (2004): 304.

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