The line between punishment and torture can be thin, but the entire world agreed it was crossed at Abu Ghraib. Or did it? George W. Bush emerged from the scandal relatively unscathed, winning a second term months later, only a few low-ranking soldiers involved in the crimes were prosecuted, and the issue went almost entirely unmentioned during themid-termelections in 2006. Where was the public outcry? Why was the American public largely unmoved by the images of torture and humiliation? Stephen F. Eisenman posits an unsettling explanation, which is rooted in the character of the Abu Ghraib photographs themselves.
Stephen F. Eisenman is Professor in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University. His other books include The Temptation of Saint Redon (1992), Gauguin's Skirt (1997) and Nineteenth-Century Art, A Critical History, now in its third edition. He lives in Highland Park, Illinois.