Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated. The U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq - mostly volunteers in a poverty draft from small towns and poor urban neighborhoods - are victims just as much as the Iraqis of the same horrendous process, which asks them to die for a victory that will never be theirs.
Even if you are a liberal in the Muslim world, when you see Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and you see all the other reports of abuses by American forces, it's very hard to get up and say, "We should simulate the American ways," because this is the face of America now in the Muslim world, for many Muslims.
Whether we consider Nazi Germany or Abu Ghraib prison, there were many people who observed what was happening and said nothing. At Abu Ghraib, one photo shows two soldiers smiling before a pyramid of naked prisoners while a dozen other soldiers stand around watching passively. If you observe such abuses and don't say, "This is wrong! Stop it!" you give tacit approval to continue. You are part of the silent majority that makes evil deeds more acceptable.
I'm sorry, those pictures from the Abu Ghraib. At first, they, like infuriated me, I was sad. Then like, a couple days later, after they cut the guy's head off, they didn't seem like much. And now, I like to trade them with my friends.
But in Afghanistan, the general rule was that since you were fighting the Taliban, which was not a lawful government force, the Geneva Conventions did not apply. And that led to a lot of excesses in Afghanistan, excesses like Abu Ghraib that were already well-publicized.
I did a piece where I was talking about torture at Abu Ghraib, and I embroidered my hand with the image of the hooded Abu Ghraib prisoners who'd been tortured using a needle and thread. I know that meeting a Holocaust survivor when I was eight and seeing the tattoo on her arm from her time in the camps influenced my piece about Abu Ghraib.