Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

The Rape of Iraq


Let’s stop using the word war to describe our action in Iraq. While it is terribly true that we are killing and maiming and destroying and being killed and maimed and morally destroyed we should shelve the word war. It constructs a righteous cause and compels a rhetoric of winning. Winning sets figures of contest and domination and triumph and prevailing victory and honoring those who died in the cause, “We are committed to winning. It is our only course,” says Cheney.

‘Iraqi Freedom’ was not a righteous war but a preemptive attack rationalized on faulty ideas, imaginations, and greed. Better to think of it as rape.

We raped Iraq. We began our action with forced, non-consensual penetration and despoilation of that country. Our Vice President publically imagined they wanted us and would welcome us, would love us and our intentions. Guilt followed, and more delusion, and stubborn refusal to admit the action. So stopping the rape, getting out, is where the figure flags. Rather than withdrawing and taking a shower, we’ve continued the rape and recast the story.

Our story now is that we’re waging a war on terror and evil in Iraq a sufficiently abstract story to distract us from the ongoing rape of Iraq.

Rape stories may be instructive.

In Genesis Shechem the Canaanite rapes Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, and seeks to marry her. Dinah’s brothers require circumcision, so he consents to circumcision for himself and his people to promote intermarriage and property alliances. While he’s healing, Dinah’s brothers kill him and his people, “and plundered the city in reprisal for Dinah’s defilement.” Jacob disapproves, but the brothers say noone treats our sister like that. The story says kin remember and will avenge.

Another biblical story of King David’s children makes that same point and an additional one. Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar and is killed by her full brother Absalom. After Amnon rapes her he hates her as in Shakespeare’s phrase about lust ‘past reason hunted, past reason hated.’ The story shows the trope eroticize, rape, blame the victim, perish.

Rape stories don’t usually end well. The rapist is a brute and often a deceiver, not a successful romancer. Rape cannot force love or alliance. How then can we forge honor from the Iraq story? Staying the course seems honorable to many, like taking responsibility, fixing what you broke. But rape cannot be fixed by force. It is stubbornness, willful pride, pure error to compound the violation.

Some, like Henry Kissinger, say victory is our only option. They cling to the figure of war and winning. The story for them is not about Iraq but about our loss of face and power. Which means that rape, like torture and terror, remains our strategy. Which means we are caught in the compulsion of our action and unable to break free. Until we can’t anymore keep up the rape.

Americans seem blind to the brutality of violent action but super-sensitive to sexual acts. So perhaps the rape analogy might penetrate the obdurate callous war story we perpetrated and persist in. Rape is harder to spin, closer to skin, ugly. Accurate.

No face-saving fiction is credible now. We need to face our face as rapist and despoiler and change it. However well-meaning and heroic we might wish to appear, intentions cannot transform the actions of barbarism and terror.

Rape is a love story only for sociopaths.

DIANE CHRISTIAN is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at University at Buffalo and author of the new book Blood Sacrifice. She can be reached at:


DIANE CHRISTIAN is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at University at Buffalo and author of the new book Blood Sacrifice. She can be reached at:

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation wasted $32.2 million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians