Radical Evil Co.

March 17, 2008


Amazingly enough, after reading Zizek’s essay on Radical Evil, i stumbled upon an essay on the tortures that took place in Abu Ghraib (the case became public in 2004). This essay was published in Esquire mag (2008/feb) and gave me an insight into the personal nightmare of one of the detainees. According to Zizek under the Saddam- regime, there was a strong emphasis on physical torture, while U.S army was (has been?) focusing on psychic torment. Is there any difference?

Achmad (business man, who was in his late twenties, when CIA arrested him) was tortured, humiliated and ‘being dragged by a leash out of a cell by a girl(!) named England.’ (photo)

A year later, Nick Flynn(writer) met Achmad and saw that he (Achmad) shook his head as he saw himself being leashed by England and said: ”I cannot recognize myself as that man.Can you?”

Zizek also mentions the notion of ‘Code Red’, which is a legally unaccepted, but still (illegally) exercised method in U.S. Navy circles. The point here is the following: ‘Code Red’ is about the marines that deny orders. These guys have to be punished accordingly. So they are punished under the ‘veil’ of the night. This illegal procedure has to be presentin order to maintain the legal frame oof the U.S. Navy structure.

Paradoxic as it may see, Zizek reincorporates the ‘Code Red’ to the Abu Ghraib-case. Once asked about it, after worldwide circulation of the photos, George W. Bush reacted with remonstration. These photos- following his train of thought- had nothing to do with what the U.S. stands for. We’ve heard many times what U.S stands for, so that is the reason why we should add the example of ‘Code Red’ to this soup. Once the authority lacks in Abu Ghraib – no rules,laws or ideas have to be followed- the essence is revealed. The essence of whatever ideology.

The point is that these two examples clearly show the paradoxical and insoluble tension between an ideology and its manifestation in reality or practice.


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