Friday, February 08, 2008

Command Rape: Unofficial Policy?

VIDEO | Military Sexual Violence: Command Rape is a compelling video presented by Truthout.org. This paragraph gives a small insight into the topic:

Three days before her actual redeployment, she was packed and ready to go, she had her car keys in her hand, and she turned to me and said, "I don't think I can do this." I was shocked but knew any type of coercion on my part would not help, so I said, "Are you serious?" She replied, "I just can't do it, Mom." She could not go back there to the misery. She told me that being separated from her family and living and breathing Army for a year at a time in a war zone was a constant source of distress for her. Where nobody cares whether you live or die as long as you do what you are told and they look good afterwards. Nor could she handle another deployment, dealing with the daily hour-to-hour sexual harassment that she endured from 99% of her male officers and fellow soldiers. The isolation and fear of being attacked, harassed, molested and raped was a huge part of her life in Iraq. She was always full of anxiety and stress just keeping herself safe when her commanding officers would show up banging on her door in the middle of the night, intoxicated and wanting to have sex with her. The intimidation and sexual harassment that our female soldiers are enduring is leading to massive stress and in some cases even death for our military women in Iraq. They are not supported but shamed when they bring these to the attention of their superiors.

I TOOK A DEEP BREATH and I told her either way she is my hero and I will support her decision. She decided that she was going to go AWOL and to leave the Army.


Now, as a retired female officer points out in the video, this crap is simple to deal with. You make it clear that if shit like this happens, or even seems to be happening, heads roll - starting with the head of the unit commander and the first Sargent.

Remember, the Army doesn't have to "prove" a goddamn thing in order to discipline an officer for failing to "maintain unit cohesion." Hell, they don't even have to give a reason for "promoting" an officer to command of a "corrosion prevention unit" in Alaska. It is an authoritarian society, and what happens happens or does NOT happen is entirely due to whether or not the Authorities wish it to occur or not.

IF you care about rape of female soldiers, you make it clear that cases, if fully proven, will result in hard time in Leavenworth, not administrative slaps on the wrist. You make it clear that if rape is suspected, but unproven, that the very least that will happen is that more effective leadership will be found for the unit in question, while the unit itself will find itself doing most unpleasant collective penance for the sins of the fellows they have chosen to shield. And you make it extremely clear that if a rape DOES occur in a unit, it had goddamn well better be brought to light as a result of command authority, not in spite of it, or heads will not just roll, they will be used as soccer balls.

The armed forces definitely do pass the word on such matters when it matters, one really has to wonder if in this case, the idea IS to drive women out of the military - along with gays and persons of insufficiently evangelical faith, persons who also have been subject to such unwelcome attentions that also seem to be "unofficial" official policy.

Why, it's almost as if the army were trying to purge itself of anyone likely to have objections to things that reasonable persons might object to, like rape and torture. Certainly if they won't defend a squadmate from rape, civilians are shit outta luck. And I betcha that's the plan and this is how you go about creating a hard core of utterly soulless followers; create situations that reasonable people KNOW they should object to - torture, rape, harrassment of all sorts - make them complicit in it, even if only by silence - and then they will be easily led down the slippery slope to complete moral depravity.

Of course, this does open the question as to why one would want an army composed of and led by white, superficially Christian, socially conservative, reflexively obedient white people.

Hm. What does the phraise "I was just obeying orders" bring to your mind?

More importantly - how DID that work out?

Such comparisons are supposedly odious. More to the point though, they are beside the point - pointing out that a sin or a stupidity is unoriginal serves little point, especially if people tend to think that UNorignal sins are somehow justified by being routine.

Ultimately, we are all accountable to ourselves and our consciences - which is for ethical persons leaves a lot less theoretical wiggle room than "being accountable before God."

But the rain falls equally on the just and the unjust - as the Bible points out. Equally are we gifted with the consequences of our own choices. So if you take only one thought from this, take this; sins that are committed wholesale are repaid retail.

Every casual injustice, every callus act, every clear violation of standards of decent behavior will be noted somewhere, by someone, and as each instance adds up, those someones add up as well. Sooner or later, statistically, one such straw will land somewhere that will cause an action or predispose a decision.

And even if no-one other than you knows of an injustice or atrocity that you will never be truly held accountable for in this life; all I can say is, "you poor motherless bastard. Without atonement there is no redemption."

That's not bible or, indeed any particular faith speaking - that's human nature. Sometimes the worst punishments are the ones we extract from ourselves for our unspoken and unspeakable sins.

This sort of stress results in what we refer to as PTSD, and we know well the toll it takes. And yet, our Lords and Masters seem obvious to the toll in human life and tortured souls their ambitions require - leaving one to be tempted to think they are not human, have no souls themselves and take dark joy in their unholy harvest.

But that, I think, would be to give them too much credit. And certainly they do not give enough credit to the potential liablity of thousands of extremely pissed off women and their mothers, as they start to realize that it wasn't JUST official embarrassment or indifference, but arguably the result of policy decisions made by grossly irresponsible men undeserving of the respect they think they deserve, much less the rank and offices they hold.

And understand this: Accountable they are, and accountable they will be. This is a fact of the universe which is apparent to any observer over time; "as you sew, so shall you reap."

1 comment:

Deb said...

Masters seem obvious to the toll in human life and tortured souls their ambitions require Might oblivious be a better term?

I was attacked in AIT and the First Sergeant couldn't do anything about it, so I did. The juy didn't get punished for rape, but he did do hard time at Leavenworth for drug possession and sale. This went against a lot of what I believe in, but they left me with no choice.

Every day I am amazed at how far we have fallen, both ethically and morally, and then the next day we find a new low. I really miss my country.

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