Yesterday, at the end of a post on Abu Ghraib prison, I pussyfooted around an unspoken something that Andrew Sullivan comes right out and says:

“I am in no way attempting to minimize the horror of what appears to have gone on in Abu Ghraib prison under U.S. command,” writes Sullivan. “But it’s worth realizing that the nakedness and the sexual humiliation might be far more potent in a sexist, homophobic and patriarchal culture than in less sexually repressed societies. One of the most important things to remember about today’s Muslim extremism is that it has taken what is the submission of women under Islam and turned it into a political pathology. Like most variants of fascism, it is deeply troubled by women’s equality and by homosexuality. Hence the impact of these images could be psychologically devastating to many Iraqis — and far worse to those in countries where Islamism has made even deeper inroads. This was not simply a p.r. debacle; it was a p.r. catastrophe. And that in itself shows the enormous cultural gulf between where the West is now headed and where Islamism wants to take the Middle East.”