A mere glance at the picture finds that a heap of Iraqi male captives, all naked, are mimicking obscene sexual intercourse before a US female guard. Kind-hearted as we are, we thought at first it might be that the Iraqi captives, though in jail yet not reconciled to their staying there, were bold enough to take liberties with their lady warder in a broad daylight. But after reading the captions we came to know that these Iraqi males were the real sufferers. It's not they who are acting indecently but the US female guard standing by. With doubts in mind we took a careful look at the picture again and eventually found out that it was no other than the female wader herself who were amusing herself, sometimes standing by hand at waist, sometimes bending down looking at the captives smiling.
What a striking shot! And it's blasphemous! This case even came to happen in front of the Americans who styled themselves as "most respectful for human rights". It has not only roused in the hearts of those who favored the US a big anguish for the brutal behavior of the American soldiers but also roused from among those who hated the US even greater hatred. And it also made those, who were neither for nor against the US, feel like to vomit. To make it short, the US national image was greatly besmeared due to the prisoner abuse scandal, which made the US slump in the hearts of the world people respecting human rights. If we say that the "Statue of Liberty" was a symbol of the US in the past, it's no longer able to take up the job again. The picture which shows a 21-year-old American female soldier, cigarette in mouth, holding the naked Iraqi captive with a dog's rein, has left an indelible impression in the minds of the people.
The US government always grumbles that other countries and peoples are unable to understand it correctly and the compassionate affections of a worldly savior are often "distorted" into the ulterior motives for intervention of the internal affairs of other countries. And its preemptive "great strategy", fearing as always of no peace in the world is more often than not taken by the "terrorists" as a criminal ringleader of all unrest in the world. Why! The Americans often feel greatly vexed that the positive features of theirs are being wrongly understood. They feel very much perplexed and unable to understand it. We are finely looking like Xishi, an ancient beauty. But how can we become something quite ugly in the eyes of others? Finally, they come to a conclusion, it's not that I look ugly but you are taking a sidewise look at me. If it is not that you don't know what is really beautiful it's that you are talking blindly. And when you look at me you feel red and jealous of me. It is called "demonizing the USA"!
We sometimes also feel very sorry for the US to be "demonized". However, the cruel performances staged by the American soldiers made us unable to make any compliment about them. When these cruelties are exposed to the daylight the "true face of the US" has partly been laid bare in the face of the people in the world. Carrying an editorial on May 6 with the headline "An Avalanche of US Image Project" the Lianhe Zaobao of Singapore says, along with the development of the event the US image is "ceaselessly fading away". That which made the US image take a downturn is none other than the behaviors of the US-British allied army in which they imposed cruel treatment and humiliation on the Iraqi captives. The behaviors make people feel like to vomit. The US image has been greatly damaged not only in the Middle East and even in the whole world.
The image of a country refers to the projection of a country's objective state in the hearts of the public. It is an overall reflection of a country in terms of its impression, view, attitude and appraisal about it by the social public, a sum total of the affections and wills of the public for a country. On the present international arena of economic globalization, the trial of a country's strength lies not only in its economy, military power and politics but also in its image, a variable that must not be neglected. It's the "soft strength" in the comprehensive strength of a country. The strength, as the credible symbol of a country, helps play an ever-increasing and very important role in carrying out its global strategy and eventually realize its strategic goal in the end. The fine image of a country can help it take initiative in the international competition whereas a bad image makes it suffer everywhere in the world. The comment of the French Liberation holds when the maltreatment of the Iraqi captives by the US soldiers is replacing the image the US "Statue of Liberty" in the eyes of the world people even Bin Laden does not need to offer any prize for people to take terrorist attacks in Iraq and other places in the world.
Should there be really such misfortunes falling onto the American soil as said the French "Liberation", can these crimes committed by the US army be atoned with only the accusation of an American female soldier or a dismissal of the US secretary of defense or the downfall of an American president? The US image damaged by such behaviors of the US army may require scores of years or even generations to get it repaired.
(People's Daily May 13, 2004)