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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Military, Politics, Society | 6 comments

Starting to get real. Doing something about the rape.

This hellbent race to the bottom (“We’re Number 17! We’re Number 17!”) has been a group effort, but the three arms of government — the executive, legislative and judicial branches — that are supposed to be the custodians of our national interests must shoulder most of the blame. …Shaun Mullen, The Moderate Voice

Of course, we elected them. Of course, even that has to be modified, these days, to achieve some truth. Well, okay. We didn’t quite elect them. But (look at your credit card statement!) we do invest most of what we’ve got in the corporations who buy and own America’s leadership and reap the rewards of their leadership. We buy their goods; they use a big chunk of our money to take ownership of our government. We could, of course, put a stop to that vicious circle… But we don’t…

Shaun Mullen laments the results.

It is impossible for me not to conclude that America is abandoning its youth, its elderly and its poor; is suffocating its middle class, increasing numbers of whom have become working poor; is timid and risk averse; is allowing the drift from productive manufacturing to a service economy where little is made of value; continues to give obscene tax breaks to the super rich and corporations; fails to confront the fossil fuel monster that saps our resources and further dirties our environment, and has turned its back on newcomers while disenfranching voters.

And not least has turned away from its own rich history, core values and virtues to the point where many of us, if shown a copy of the Bill of Rights, would believe it to be a subversive document. ….Shaun Mullen, The Moderate Voice

Being Americans, we’d like to do something about our malaise. I mean, wouldn’t we? But we seem curiously paralyzed, unable to act. Of course, we could start with stripping away the fantasies as a start on changing reality. We could stop saying, “We’re best,” and take the healthier, more truthful, line: “We have a long way to go to get to that city on the hill.” It’s very troubling to see an America in which powerful fantasies about our superiority have robbed us of good sense and a healthy respect for the whole community.

We could begin with understanding our elevation of “terrorism” and recognize that our fantasies about the efficacy of war, of our defenses, our military have done more damage to us internationally as well as internally than good … a lot more. Our aggression isn’t about noble efforts to bring democracy to the rest of the world. Sheesh! We don’t even have it here at home! What we’re selling is the imposition of a form of international capitalism, a system that requires careful control of political systems, the suppression of actual democracy, and constitutions setting in place a “rule of law” too easily manipulated by money.

Here’s an opening — something that will help us in our efforts to face facts. While our defense industry is engaged in constant pillage of our economy — with the acquiescence of our Congress and the Pentagon — even our “foot soldiers” are now known to rape and pillage at their level of the military system.

Transforming the military’s entrenched culture of sexual violence will require new approaches and a much stronger effort than what the Pentagon has done so far.

That is the depressing truth of a Defense Department study released on Tuesday estimating that about 26,000 people in the military were sexually assaulted in the 2012 fiscal year, up from about 19,000 in the same period a year before.
Those who thought that the crisis could not get any worse have been proved wrong.

As in other years, only a small fraction of assaults were reported — 3,374 in 2012 compared with 3,192 in 2011. The study, based on anonymous surveys, suggests that the great majority of sexual assault victims do not report the attacks for fear of retribution or lack of faith that the military will prosecute these crimes. ...NYT editorial board

It’s getting worse, not better. Abu Ghraib wasn’t an exception, as we’ve come to find out over the past decade. We do it to others; we do it to ourselves. We don’t yet even know how many thousands more than three thousand three hundred seventy-four experienced degradation at the hands of our military in 2012 or just how bad it is already in 2013. This time let’s not hush it up. Let’s use it to do something about the part of our society we have a habit of idealizing.

We have a long way to go. Maureen Dowd reminds us today that the Senate, when faced with the ghastly statistics on military rape, disgraced itself. The Pentagon has done no better.

… During another Senate hearing on Tuesday where the topic of sexual transgression flared, it became clear that, as the California Congresswoman Jackie Speier told me afterward, “people in authority just don’t get it.”

Gen. Mark Welsh, the chief of staff for the Air Force, shocked the women on the Senate Armed Services Committee when he testified that part of the problem in combatting “The Invisible War,” as the Oscar-nominated documentary feature on the epidemic of rape in the military was titled, is that young women who enter the military have been raised in a society with a “hook-up mentality.”

“We have got to change the culture once they arrive,” the general said.

Hook-ups may be stupid, but they are consensual.

“To dismiss violent rapes as part of the hook-up culture shows a complete lack of understanding,” a fiery Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told me. “We’re not talking about a date gone badly. We’re talking about criminal behavior by predators who often stalk their victims in advance.”

The hook-up comparison was especially jarring in light of the release of a stunning Pentagon study estimating that 26,000 men and women in the military were sexually assaulted in the 2012 fiscal year, a 37 percent increase from the same period the year before. Only a small number of incidents — 3,374 — were reported, showing that victims are still afraid of payback or perverted justice. And a mere 238 assailants were convicted.

Wired.com reported that troops at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina were issued a brochure advising potential victims of sexual assault that it may be more “advisable to submit than resist.”…

Maureen Dowd,NYT

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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