Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 22, 2009

Gitmo: Down To Its Last Happy Meal

image: Lori Grinker/Contact Press Images

This image, taken in March 2002 by contributor Lori Grinker, has stood out in my mind since I first saw it. It was taken at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo.

As the Obama administration puts the wheels in motion to finally shutter the place, this scene is relevant to me for a few reasons. For one, I considered Bush/Cheney’s “War On Terror” to be its own brand. As soon as Abu Ghraib broke, the guy standing on the box with the hood on his head became its world-wide logo, as iconic and representative as the golden arches (and even supplanting those arches as an American I.D.).

As Bush went around the world preaching fear, particularly at economic summits (while countries like China were preaching trade and making investments), it seemed like terror became our prime export, with “how many served” represented by how many people were held in custody without access to due process, or were being illegally tortured, with our main clients being those countries that colluded with us in hosting local franchises, or facilitated illegal renditions.

What the photo also does, I believe, is imply how the so-called “War on Terror” and the Iraq War provided a huge marketplace to gorge the security- and military-industrial complex, from the fly-by-night operators to the equally hungry Fortune 100, with all the instant commerce they could handle. And, if the product delivered was as cheap as drive-through, that was indicative of the way BushCo. did business.

(image: Lori Grinker/Contact Press Images. Image may not be used without permission)

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