"Dr. Suzy" is somebody you might know if you like Web sites by women who put pictures of tits on the Net. It's a laudable business, putting pictures of tits on the Internet, as is the business of preaching "ethical hedonism" and describing female ejaculation in a sex-advisor column, which is the other thing Dr. Suzy does to pay the bills.

She also publishes her political opinions. As an unrepentant California flower child, she has opinions that are, predictably, short on actual argument and biliously contemptuous of anyone to the right of Jerry Brown.

All of which is fine, too. Gods know, we've endured, during the Iraq conflict, the shock-and-yawn of "Poets Write Against the War." And I care about as much what modern American and British poets think about geopolitics and military strategy as I do what Women Who Put Tits on the Internet think about them. Maybe less. I'd rather read politics from tit-merchants than look at the naked flesh of politicians.

The trouble is, "Dr. Suzy" doesn't write her political ravings as "Dr. Suzy, female ejaculation advisor." She writes them as "Dr. Susan M. Block." It sounds very formal, especially if you don't know Dr. Block from Dr. Kildare.

I've always had a beef with people who call themselves "doctor" and who aren't M.D.s. As far as I'm concerned, Ph.D.s are just trying to inflate their cache by claiming the title "doctor." Yes, I know: in the Middle Ages, "doctor" meant "man of learning." But it isn't the Middle Ages anymore. Nowadays, it's a deception. When someone suddenly falls ill in a theater, and people shout "is there a doctor in the house?" do you think they want to see you push through the crowd waving your Ph.D. in education from Hofstra?

"Dr. Susan M. Block," as I understand it from reading her c.v. (long on gush, short on details) on her Web site, earned the right to call herself that by completing a course of study in philosophy from Pacific Western University.

And she's my current favorite example of how ignorant it is for non-medical people to claim the title "doctor" in a world where that is understood as implying "expertise in matters of health and medicine."

Back in the spring she wrote and published an article -- a rant, really -- in the popular radical site counterpunch.org. She was spitting mad that the Americans and the British had overthrown Saddam, and that a good many Iraqis seemed to be glad he was gone. She called it "The Rape of Iraq."

The supreme victory for the rapist is proof that his victim "enjoyed" it. ... [I]f she should smile, or, better yet, orgasm, the rapist is redeemed; he is even (in his mind) heroic. This is why, when the Anglo-American rape of Iraq began, we so desperately searched the Iraqi faces on our televisions for a smile. ... But hey--a dazed teenager grins at an expensive American camera, and hoots "Thank you Boosh!" and we're ready to forget children with their arms blown off and too many corpses on the highway to count, let alone identify. ... As the rapist would say, "I gave her what she really wanted." She needed to be raped. She wanted to be violated. ... Of course, the rapist cares little about the "psychology" of his victim. That smile is his triumph, his war medal of honor.
It's fairly typical of the ugly-minded stuff you can read everywhere. And it got filtered through a set of minds just as ugly, in a place where the truth of the matter, and Dr. Block's clumsy and crude attempt at metaphor, were not understood. The result is that the ugliness level of the whole world was raised several notches and a number of innocent people now are dead.

I first learned of this via The Boston Globe. The article begins like this:

The allegations can be heard almost everywhere in Turkey, from farmers' wives in kebab shops, in influential journals and from erudite political leaders: US troops have raped thousands of Iraqi women and young girls since ousting Saddam Hussein.

Articles in Turkey's Islamic press reporting the allegations have fanned opposition here to the US invasion of Iraq to white-hot anger - and even, apparently, to murder.

Nurullah Kuncak says his father, Ilyas Kuncak, was boiling with rage about the rumoured rapes just before he killed himself delivering the huge car bomb that devastated the Turkish headquarters of HSBC bank last month, killing a dozen people and wounding scores more.

"Didn't you see? The American soldiers raped Iraqi women," Nurullah said in a recent interview. "My father talked to me about it .... Thousands of rapes are in the records. Can you imagine how many are still secret?"

The articles in the Turkish press are based in part on a column by Susan Block, a US sex therapist who denies having written or said anything about soldiers raping women. The initial reports were published in Yeni Safak, an Islamic journal.

The first, a front-page article on October 22, said: "In addition to the occupation and despoliation, thousands of Iraqi women are being raped by American soldiers. There are more than 4000 rape events on the record." The article's main source was identified as "Dr Susan Block," who was reported to have said a wave of rapes began with the occupation and was continuing.

The second article, published on December 3, said 54 Iraqis killed in the city of Samarra on November 30 were shot while rioting over the kidnap and rape of 30 girls by US soldiers.

The US embassy in Ankara has strongly denounced the reports, calling them "outrageous allegations ... based on a U.S. 'source' best known for her pornographic websites and erotic television program."

Even the Islamic gutter-press, which twisted this stupid venting of a dull mind into a news story, had the smidgen of humanity required to change its tune -- after it was too late, of course. A prominent writer for Yeni Safak wrote an opinion piece later in the newspaper, admitting the rape reports were "without any foundation."

Don't look for any admission from "Dr." Block, however. She forges on, dispensing titty-porn with one hand and political screeds with the other, and never looking back. She's locked in "not my fault" mode, and still trying to turn this tragedy she sparked into a soapbox for her strident platitudes:

I did not say American troops are literally raping Iraqi women. I don't know if Americans are raping Iraqi women. I do know they are killing them. I don't know if that's much better.

Which makes me wish someone would ask her: "should the anti-war movement be supporting the Iraqi anti-coalition insurgents?" You get interesting answers to that one, even from mainstream anti-war "pundits." Like John Pilger, who's appeared in or on the BBC, New York Times, Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, etc. Someone asked him that question, and he said:

Yes, I do. We cannot afford to be choosy. While we abhor and condemn the continuing loss of innocent life in Iraq, we have no choice now but to support the resistance, for if the resistance fails, the 'Bush gang' will attack another country. If they succeed, a grievous blow will be suffered by the Bush gang.

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© January 26, 2004 Douglas Harper Moe: "Say, what's a good word for scrutiny?" Shemp: "uh ... SCRUTINY!"