The World Trade Center: the electric shock to power, the humiliation inflicted on power – but from the outside. With the Baghdad prison images it is worse. This is the humiliation, just as lethal symbolically, which world power – in the form of the Americans, as it happens – inflicts on itself. The electric shock of shame and bad conscience. This is how the two events are linked.

To the two events, a violent reaction throughout the world: in the first instance, a sense of momentousness, in the second, a sense of abjection.

In the case of 9/11, the thrilling images of a major event; in the other, the shaming images of something that is the opposite of an event, a non-event of obscene banality, the atrocious but banal degradation not merely of the victims but also of the amateur stage managers...

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