Apparently I am alone, or at least in a minority, in thinking that the new Abu Ghraib photos are newsworthy. These pictures are over three years old! The only reason Salon could have for publishing them is to get more hits!
Well, perhaps you are right. Looking again at the sodomy picture, I see that what I thought was blood was part of the pattern on the sheet. Also, it is less clear to me now what exactly the person has in his anus.
Still, we know that prisoners at Abu Ghraib were forced to perform sexual acts. Combine that information with this photograph and you have pretty good evidence that this man was forced to sodomize himself.
So suppose you came across photos that indicated that your neighbor was kidnapping people and raping them in his basement. Would you give them to the police, or publicize them in some other way to people who could do somehting about it? Would you say "Why bother, these photos are almost three years old. I'm sure there is no one being sodomized there now." Would say, "I can't let anyone see these photos, it might reflect badly on my neighbor's family. His nephews might get attacked at school?" Would you be satisfied with a note from your neighbor saying "I have looked in to the matter and concluded that no one is being tortured in my basement." Would you say, "They guy tied up in my neighbors basement looks like a Unitarian, and a Unitarian killed my cousin." Would you say, "I can't let anyone else see these photos. The other day my roommate called his insane mother a cunt, and I refused to call her a cunt too, because I was afraid she would go ballistic again" (see also here)
Aparantly, it's not just the jingoists writing letters to Salon who think this way. the NYT, the BBC, CNN, WaPo, all think there is no reason to publish these photos. NPR has been talking about them, and has even put photos on their web site. Autralian media is running this story. But that's it.
On the personal front, today I fell down on my pledge to write a page of real live scholarly research every day.