Saturday, February 09, 2008

FYI, Law and Order Republicans and armed personel In Theatre.

Before I am lept upon by Haliburton apologists - if you are a law and order sort, a crime is a crime is a crime. When you fiddle with the rules or buy off the law so you get to commit the crimes YOU like committing. That is neither Law nor Order, and it brings the system (and it's alleged champions) into disrepute.

Before I'm leapt on by feminists for putting the wrong emphasis on this: that's your job, there are lots more of you than of me, and I'm certain you are doing a better job of it than I would, as I'm an envious reader of a number of you. But if I somehow inadvertently offend you enough in my reaction to this situation to make you post - well, if that's what it takes... Let me add that I'm white, male, blonde, conspiciously angol-saxon and if I went to church at all, it would be to an Episcopal church.

I mean, if that's what it takes to make your vagina dentata bare it's fangs and start snapping, I will gladly play fox to your hound in this case. There ARE males who need castrating in this circumstance and I'm not so male nor so Episcopal to deny that obvious fact.

I've always felt a job is best done by those who most enjoy it. :>

Indeed, the fact that some males in this equation are due for neutering or worse is pretty much my entire point.

As far as I am concerned, if you are of the view that a particular set of glands entitles you to dominion over those possessing another particular set of glands - then you had best be prepared to accept challenges to your "right of attachment."

UN-like females, the removal of those glands is neither particularly difficult nor life-threatening, and just as it does for dogs and cats, it will "improve your personality" just as much, by the same means and to the same, quite significant degree.

So if you can't prove that your topmost glands can override your bottommost - be prepared to accept that you deserve to have them removed, either by some affronted female or by some affronted male, and that if it hasn't happened, it's a question of mercy and forebarance, not of strict justice.

But if you prove in a combat situation that your glands place members of your team in danger - prepare to have them SHOT off. Well, actually, prepare for being dead. In combat, there is little luxury for editorial commentary of that sort.

Now, in a properly constituted, disciplined and and professional military unit with minimally competent leadership, there IS reliable recourse to relief from higher authority for infractions against one's person and dignity. This is of course in the interests of Justice - but not because Justice is some abstract ideal. It is because it is rather unwise and prejudicial to good order and discipline to deny justice from those trained and equipped to extract it from the guilty parties by force of arms. When people have training, means and opportunity to commit an act you would prefer they did not - it's wise to ensure that they do not ever have motive.

And if that is both true and obvious to members of an armed civilian force, such as our regular forces, how more obvious and true is it of a force composed of those who should know that - both by situation, by role and by contract - that their only reliable recourse for such matters is sudden, pre-emptive violence?

When the entire corporate culture amounts to "shoot them all, let God sort them out," how does anyone in that culture delude themselves that they can be an exception to such a rule? I would assume that cases such as this are the rare exceptions and the rule is that most disputes of this nature are never passed up the chain of command, due to a link being replaced. Suddenly.

Still, even within such a culture, most of the time with most people, you can control the situation with a superior display of force and dominance.

Statistically. With odds that are possibly about as good as Vegas odds - but they don't shoot you when you crap out in Vegas!

If you have not noticed - your female squadmates are armed, and have gone through the same training as you have. If they are trained well enough to put a round through a turban at five hundred yards, do you doubt their ability to chose to shoot off your LEFT nut at twenty five feet?

Yet have just told them that their only choices are submission or violence.

YOU went though basic. They went through basic. What do you think YOUR Drill Instructor would expect them them to do under these circumstances, knowing as we both do that the "correct response" and the one that promotes that fatherly smile are often completely contradictory?

Ooo, is your widdle sphicter CLENCHING at that thought?

And if you happen to be a Marine, Seal or Ranger, you ougtta be exerting enough force to crush a pencil with it right about now. You are trained to expect a certain sort of behavior from a a colleague. Aren't you? So, if you are betting your life and your dangly bits on a particular squadmate being an exception because she has breasticles instead of testicles - hm. Let's put it this way. In her situation, surrounded as she is by enemy forces who have overt tactial superiority, what would the training you share advise?

Dude, she's gonna go assymetrical on your ass and blame it on terrorist action. And if she were not trained and equipped to get away with that - she would not deserve to be wearing that pin you are so deservedly smug about.

In this particular war, with IED's flying around as they do, it's real easy to imagine how a fragging might be mistaken for enemy action. Indeed, once you think of it, you might start to wonder what amount of "enemy action" has actually served to improve the leadership of the armed forces in action. Of course - should she and three of her female buddies choose to make it more personal - ok. Let's not visualize that - it's a little too "Little Big Horn."

Just because she didn't SAY "you have to sleep sometime" doesn't mean it hasn't occurred to her. Males tend to bluster and posture before committing violence. They actually need to be trained out of that, to work co-operatively in units and to strike effectively for the kill, instead of just for coup.

Not so much for females. Civilization tends to obscure this. But oh, you are in Iraq or Afganistan, not The World.

Oopsie. My condolances and such, but for whatever reason, you signed on the dotted line. By definition, even under the BEST circumstances, a soldier is on the front line of civilization, and to a degree far greater than any civilian, they can choose to be civilized people or not - for all to often, the only people watching are them, and the motives for any particular choice are only accessible to them. If one of them transgresses - likely the only other person in view is another soldier, who has a choice, and who knows that "friendly fire" is a risk everyone lives with.

This long and unforgiving rant was provoked and inspired by the following article ganked in toto from Alternet with the hope and wish for forgiveness. Most times I stick with "fair comment" rules and refer people to read the original with a link.

However, I read my logs, and that rarely happens. and it was my judgement that there simply wasn't a spare word there. If I excerpted, I'd be omitting a critical point the author wished to be made - and that's fair comment only by Fox News standards.

Truly proper behavior would be to simply link to the article. But if I did that, the odds are you won't click through and read it. Now, as an author myself, I know that the ultimate, overriding motivation is to be read, and in this case, I think the words, ideas and situations so critical that I'm willing to knowingly commit a breach of copyright.

I admit, I'm in the wrong, and if any objection is made by Alternet or the author, I will amend any offense. I do this only because I honestly believe this action, in this particular case, better fulfills their intent as I understand it.

I want you to read every word
, Lucinda Marshall, founder of the Feminist Peace Network has written here. If you have read it before, read it again!

Having read it at least once, and hopefully twice, please go to Alternet and leave a comment on the article, after digging it up, stumbling it and emailing it to your friends. Please blog about it, even if you have to blow the dust off your myspace or your livejournal.

This is an issue with so many different interlocking injustices and contempts for decent opinion that there's something in it to offend everyone.

This is another truth I wish to pass on. Those who you may be inclined philosophically to respond to an injustice differently than you would are not therefore wrong about an injustice having occurred.

A fact is a fact is a fact - whatever the spin given it by whoever brings it to your attention. For instance, I presume - with I hope SOME degree of accuracy, that both Marshall and Alternet would assume or at least prefer that true justice is only achieved through some collective means.
I'll agree it's preferable, and even assert that such means are in place because of our collective memory of the alternative. But and am asserting the REALITY and probability of alternative recourse should collective recourses be precluded.

I will not assert that non-violent, collective and orderly responses are to be despised, but I observe that without a trained and effective group of war fighters, the expectation of orderly and evenhanded justice would be laughable. So how silly is it for one war-fighter to expect civilian response to aggression from another war-fighter?

If they appear to submit - would it not be reasonable to assume that they have read Sun Tsu and are waiting - as he would advise - for a moment when you are least able to defend against their attack?

And in an armed force trained and purposed to "shock and awe," how could you ever expect a fellow war-fighter to think in other terms when confronting you? All their training and experience tells them to commit ultimate, overwhelming, decisive force at the moment and place of greatest weakness, and then to follow up until not just resistance ceases, but the POSSIBILITY of resistance is gone.

Sauce for the Goose, motherfucker.

Rambo One is a cartoon - but it is a cartoon that is based in visceral truth. When you create a living weapon and train them to achieve their objective by being the meanest motherfucker in the valley, you had best be either even more vicious and effective and vigilant - or never ever fall within their targeting parameters.

If such arrogant stupidity is difficult to credit within the culture of the legitimate armed forces, where there is at least theoretical and sometimes even effective response to injustice, how fucking idiotic is it within a Merc unit where, if you are paying ANY attention, it's clear that the only actual definition of right and wrong is who survives to file the paperwork.

Oh, and in a merc unit clearly allergic to even the symbolic semblance of accountability - how little must it matter to them should c one or more muscle-headed fungible fail to return from a mission? Plenty more where THEY come from, and the fewer that live to tell - well, really, the fewer that live, the better.

The notion that sexual assault cannot be tried as a criminal matter but has to be arbitrated in secret arbitration and treated as a labor dispute is simply beyond belief. But then again, defending democracy by making a mockery of it is what Halliburton/KBR is all about:

"A mother of five who says she was sexually harassed and assaulted while working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq is headed for a secretive arbitration process rather than being able to present her case in open court.
A judge in Texas has ruled that Tracy Barker's case will be heard in arbitration, according to the terms of her initial employment contract.
Barker says that while in Iraq she was constantly propositioned by her superior, threatened and isolated after she reported an incident of sexual assault."

But it is what the judge in the case said that is most disturbing:

"District Judge Gray Miller, however, wrote in his order that "whether it is wise to send this type of claim to arbitration is not a question for this court to decide.""
"Sadly," wrote Judge Miller, "sexual harassment, up to and including sexual assault, is a reality in today's workplace."

And this in what way would have any bearing on it being a criminal offense? But wait for it...

It gets worse:

"Barker's case had also involved a claim of sexual assault against a State Department employee. Those claims have been severed from her case against Halliburton/KBR and transferred to the Eastern District of Virginia."

Yes, you read that correctly, if a Halliburton/KBR goon commits sexual assault they are not subject to the same criminal proceedings as the same charges brought against a State Department employee.

So there you have it-we are officially fighting terrorism and defending freedom by paying private companies exhorbitant amounts of money and allowing them to terrorize our own citizens and deny them their civil liberties. And it's all legal. Talk about a classic case of the best democracy money can buy.

Editor's Note: The video to your right aired on 20/20 this past December and it features Barker and another victim of rape by Halliburton emplopyees, Jamie Leigh Jones, telling their horrifying stories.


Tagged as: jones, barker, bush administration, rape, kbr, halliburton

Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network. Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Counterpunch, AlterNet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, the Progressive, Countercurrents, Z Magazine, Common Dreams, In These Times and Information Clearinghouse. She also blogs at WIMN Online and writes a monthly column for the Louisville Eccentric Observer.

The thing about me, and about Graphictruth, the blog, is that I try to talk about the true things that nobody else is bringing up. In this case, grotesque as the situation is and abominable as the charges are, nonetheless, they are still matters to be determined by a court of law.

But as I said, there's the problem. If you write employee contracts in order to get people to waive rights to justice for matters such as this, don't you think it's an indication that it's something that you feel your corporate culture is somehow entitled to, one of the "perks" of a warrior culture? The point I am making here is that it's a fucking GIFT on her part to the offenders that there was not a chunk of C-4 waiting in the latrine for them. This is, after all, the standard of response to aggression they have set, this is what they expect of their employees when even confronted with the vague possiblity of a potential threat.

It's disturbingly odd to expect people to behave in ways completely contradictory to corporate culture, context and opportunity. And frankly, I don't imagine it does. So I must therefore presume that this particular woman is an exception in some way.

One drunken commentator at Alternet revealed the idea that many of you may think secretly - and indeed, he apologizes for it afterwards, so I will not quote him. But he indicates a lack of sympathy for those who lie down with dogs and contract venereally transmitted fleas.

In an ideal world, where everyone had adequate funds to live and no family or fiscal concerns that kept them from paying close attention to current events, that might be correct. Certainly, if we could assume that our schools taught techniques of critical thinking as basic as "quo bono" (who does it benefit) that I sign away these rights, that attitude might well be valid.

And indeed, I will agree that even given these circumstances, and the probable advantage taken of circumstance and ignorance, my sympathy is nonetheless measured. I mean, really, seriously, how stupid do you have to be? Did you do NO research?

But the law does not recognize a distinction between the civil rights of stupid people and smart people. It is not ok to victimize people that are easy to victimize. The law (and marginally intelligent people everywhere ) realize that the first victims of any scam are the easy marks and that the techniques will be revised and expanded to include everyone, given the opportunity.

This is why I find it odious when the smart and well-informed show little or no sympathy toward those who are less intelligent and less well informed.

If you aren't looking out for these folks, what the fuck is your intelligence and information skill good for? And that goes doubly true for my colleagues of all political persuasions in their parent's basements. Oh, yes, I am WELL aware of the correlation between raw intelligence and various personality deficits that make regular employment difficult. So very well aware that this is one of the few times I will ever bring it up. But those of us who are outliers on the intelligence bell-curve must remember that for the most part, we all depend on the indulgence of others - even when we are employed with nice big paycheques.

More importantly, there are certain factual situations that require you to express a response within a certain range in order to qualify yourself for ... in order of importance ... life, Liberty and the right to expect people to respect your opinion.

Some of my more Republican and Libertarian colleagues might observe that one should read contracts, before leaping at the ungodly sums of money that Haliburton is known to wave under people's noses, to overcome their common sense, their propriety and indeed, their sense of self-preservation.

They might well further observe that the rule of TAANSTAFFL should tell you that if it's enough to buy your soul - that's indeed what they intend to have of you, and nothing less than that.

Indeed, one should understand this. On the other hand, when was the last time YOU actually read an online user agreement? Did you not just click past it, knowing that you had no choice but to agree, since you were in no position to argue?

This was the case even for those of you who could actually parse and understand subordinate clauses. The vast majority of high school graduates in North America cannot reliably parse a legal document. This is far past the graduation standard of sixth-grade english comprehention - the level required to read a newspaper.

Most 2 year and many 4 year college graduates will not be able to do that; - they don't need to meet standards required to intelligently sign a legal document in order to graduate in most disciplines.

So the question is, why is it legally permissible to write such confusing bullshit in the first place, or respectible to consider holding people accountable for things we godddamn well know they can neither clearly understand, while knowing equally well that such documents will never, ever be waved under the nose of anyone who COULD understand the implications.

Many contracts ARE written in sixth grade English; it's not just courtesy, it definitely reduces the likelihood of frivolous and trivial suits.

The only reason to write a confusing and opaque contract is if you are indeed trying to maintain the freedom to fuck with people without their consent. Clearly, at least with Halliburton and KBR, "fucking with people" is not MERELY a metaphor.

But under the rule of law as defined by our Constitution, elaborated by precedence and founded as it is in Common and Blackletter law, there is no particular distinction between crimes you were surprised by and crimes that you should have expected, had you only read the fine print in your employment contract.

Nor is there any legitimate way for anyone to contractually convert a crime into a civil tort. Not in any court of law with un-compromised and competent officers of the court, at any rate.

Whatever a contract may allege - it is not possible to sign away one's civil rights. All that an abuser can do is try to make the enforcement of justice too expensive for any one individual to persue in the courts This is indeed both possible and distressingly common - and this is why it is a duty, both of citizenship and of humanity to join with and stand behind those so victimized, even when it might be slightly inconvenient, or cause one to spend a penny or two.

For the alterntative is that first one or two, and than a flood of people will seek redress "by other means." And indeed, you see this every single day in the news, as some person, legitimately or illigiamately at odds with authority, and being given no other recourse, turns to the use of violence.

So... if an untrained, desperate and angry civilian can take out half a city council and two cops before being shot down - what happens if you rape and abuse persons trained to use weapons with skill and intentional lethality? Gee whiz, in a war zone, could you ever be sure that the death of a person known to be an abuser was truly enemy action? Would you shrug and conclude that it was best, all things considered, to not examine the situation too closely?

I'll betcha that happens. I'll betcha that happens at least ten times more often than it should, and it happens for reasons that have nothing to do with some lack of fluffy altruism. It happens due to fucking STUPID leadership policies set at the highest level, that set the expectation that you can fuck with the apparently less powerful without any risk of retribution.

It's not altruism that provokes this derisive horselaugh on my part; it's not altruistic at all. It's a "there but for the Grace of God" moment. If you do not stand up at such times, when it's both relitively easy and cheap enough to afford casually - how can you expect support from others, when you are looking down the gun-barrel of justice perverted for the profit of others?

And I guaren-damn-tee you that the less you care about crap like this happening to others, the more likely it becomes that it will happen to you and yours. And if you never stood up before, what right will you have to expect anyone to stand up then? More to the point - there may well be too few left to make a difference.

When you stand up for the rights of others you ARE standing up for your rights. And if you fail to do so then - you have allowed an exception to be made, and that exception will be expanded at every opportunity until you are included.

If you have not been paying attention, that's been happening for some time already. And if this case is not egregious enough for you to finally stand up, regardless of your political affiliation, regardless of issues such as the "war on terr" that you may well hold to be an overriding priority, you don't deserve rights.

ANYONE who wishes you to be too terrified to assert your human rights and your dignity in the face of authority IS a terrorist. You must confront them, you must deny them; ideally you should kill them, for that is exactly what your president has told you to do.

Oh, and I should also point out that for every woman in a war-zone who is intimidated by the futility of resorting to the "proper channels" - well, that same woman is also painfully aware of alternate means.

Speaking as an individual, who has experienced authority abouse by this sort of alpha male who asks the rhetorical quetion "whatcha gonna do about it," I can state that such rhetorical questions generally have sudden and violent answers. But the verbal version is "you have to sleep sometime, and you have to trust me to cover your ass."

Let me spell this out for you, you who don't quite get this: if you pervert justice, so that those you perceive as being "weaker" have no recorse, and at the same time, you have trained a substantial number of these people to be perfectly sanguine about putting a bullet in the ear of "an enemy of the people," much less hooking their testicles up to a car battery, what happens if it crosses their mind that they have nothing personal against "them," but a large grudge against YOU?

Geeze, what might it possibly mean that they have decided to carry a captured, totally deniable AK instead of an issue weapon?

What part of "Sam Colt made all men equal" did you fail to understand? Are you unaware that in English, "man" means "person" by default?

And if this is all true of a woman in regular army service - how foolish is it to ignore these truths if you are a mercenary unit renowned for it's casual indifference toward human life. You, too, are human, and sauce for the goose is SURELY sauce for the gander.

And that, sir, is very much a gender specific refereance. A very, very, old one, probably with some explict intent referring to the amusingly ironic ill use of nether orifices.

When you place women in combat and either arm them or place them within easy access to arms and then treat them as if they were unarmed victims - you had best be prepared for what happens next.

If you have made appeal to authority and chain of command futile - as a matter of apparent policy - you had best be even better prepared. Women - as a class, as a statement that is only valid in a strictly limited, statistical sense - MAY be easier to push around.

It's the individual variations that will kill you individually dead. And as a general class, they will not engage in stupid pissing contests before committing to deadly violence. Again, as a general rule, they will submit - or they will appear to submit just long enough for you to let your guard down.

In that case, count yourself lucky if they put a bullet behind your ear first.

There is a reason for law and order, and there is a reason why intelligent males make sure that the women in their lives (and by extension, in general) feel both safe and secure, and never, EVER allow them to think of us as being more of a threat or less of a protector than the stranger across the street.

Women - and this, again, is a genetic and statistical statement that you could manage to dance around your entire life in specific cases - just as you could easily avoid any relationship with a true alpha male. As a class, women have only one genetically - programmed, unavoidable use for men. Men who casually ignore this truth, making it clear that they are neither good protectors nor good choices for breeding will register in the female hindbrain as being utter wastes of skin.

So, such a person had better be very impressive to the forebrain. It does generally call the shots, unless it's a life or death matter.

Oh, right. Combat. Targeting priorities. Circumstances in which the forebrain is along in an observational capacity, in order to write the after-action report. Gee whiz; what if her combat computer calculates her odds of completing a tour sane and intact are improved by you becoming a dead hero?

It is starting to cause me to wonder to myself, how many women in the army have felt it both prudent and necessary to promote a particular colleague to the afterlife without benefit of paperwork. Oh, wait, how silly of me to misremember what is a fine old military tradition, one that explains the otherwise oddly dismal odds of butterbars surviving their first combat action.

It's certainly not difficult to rig an IED, nor is it at all hard to shoot someone "accidentally" in the fog of combat. Hell, that happens all too often, even when you aren't aiming.

So, if you prove to any one of your squadmates that you have less than the usual right to live and you are not blessed with all kinds of compensatory talents for preserving the asses of others, your odds of taking a full mag of 7.62 from the nuts up have gone up exponentally.

If you are a mercenary in a unit with women who ascribe to mercentary values -square that.

Remember - you were bought with money. Given that, what would you do to actually protect your chance to enjoy spending it?

If that's true for you - it's true for her. Even if she's "just a clerk." If she's actually armed as a matter of standard practice, don't even fucking contemplate the idea. Odds are, it's the last fuck you will ever enjoy. She'll kill you if she's feeling charitable and daring. Otherwise, she will simply fuck with your intelligence - and your charred corpse may well be seen for fifteen seconds on cnn.

It is a fact that one of the most effective ways to loosen lips is to shove a penis between them.

Oh, and karma is such an indiscriminate thing, you know. It's really a survival grade matter to ensure that people likely to attract enemy fire find it in isolation.

And that is why first sergeants have sidearms.

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