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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. 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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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    seeing close in, I have six [plus many more, but for now six] observations, thoughts.

    re sexual assault, sexual bright lines in the military often means honor is instilled all down the ranks– from the top. Petraeus and others before him and still now after him, set abject examples. English, the woman holding human beings on a leash and laughing, along with her cohort, is but one example of lip service to protocol training and no insistence from top down in the military at her and her ‘friends” levels.

    The majority of men and women are honorable. But/and a ten year war[s] erodes heart and soul… my family has many stories of the war-hardened nazis AND then red army acting unspeakably inhumane toward the innocents in war. It is a phenom in long wars that is never addressed.

    Deployment upon deployment without cease, is also insane. Trying to remember one is still alive often will come then anywhere one can make it happen, and this can occur at grave expense to others.

    the medicating of persons with Post Trauma in order to put them back into boots in war deployment, is INSANE. What judgment, what analyses can a psychiatrically drugged person be capable of in critical moment to moment responses needed. No one asks. We KNOW that certain drugs appear to cause hugely aggressive behavior and also suicidal and homicidal behavior too often. We’re not even talking about those who take steroids.

    If most saw the quality of recruiting going on, the bonuses given for recruiting, one might also, in some cases, understand more about why training before the fact, and deeply, is critical.

    Lastly, related subject…. to lessen defense budget. There’d need to be planning, we have had enough vapid dialogue. We hear a lot of how it could just magically cease. There’s a problem. THe defense department budget, in part is huge because it employs countless people, not just in the military, but those who refurbish, build, supply, feed, house, and more. As the largest ripple-employer in the country, if one were to gut defense without an ENORMOUS and EFFECTIVE and WORKABLE PLAN IN PLACE, one would have to also find a way to employ, save the homes of, feed the children of, and with immediacy, several million people– and their families from day one. They are employed by or because of the military, and also across the world.

  • SteveK

    Excellent post Prairie Weather…

    Excellent reply dr.e…

    It’s too bad that our friends on the right haven’t time for the obscene, immoral problem of sexual assault in the military… Or for a Jobs Bill… or for a compromise that would let them pass a budget that would expedite the elimination of the deficit.

    But no, they just can’t find the time to do the work of the people when it’s so much more fun to stir up more hatred.

    Continuing their faux outrage over their fictional views of events they know nothing about regarding the attacks in Benghazi is just too much fun.

  • First of all, I am honored that a journalistic éminence grise like Prairie Weather would cite my post — and put the “problem” in an even more acute perspective.

    Secondly, while Dr. E makes good points, I find it sadly ironic that cowardice runs through the entire military rape issue. That is, soldiers going into combat are drilled to provide only their name, rank and serial number if captured by enemy combatants, but woman soldiers are told that boys will be boys, it’s only the hook-up culture and, in some instances like at Shaw AFB and elsewhere, are told to spread ’em rather than resist ’em.

  • PW

    Shaun — eminence grise? And after all my efforts with henna, costly wigs, and those personal trainers on St. Kitts?

    But I much appreciate your comments and those of Steve and Dr.Estes. Maybe living outside of the US for so long makes me see the sexual harassment and outright rape issues as internal manifestations of what our defense industry/military do around the world.

    Somewhere along the way, the modest, thoughtful America became the America of “if I want it I’m entitled to it.” Seriously. Next subject: entitlement? Where and how we use that word says a lot about us.

  • PW:

    I look forward to your bewigged musings on entitlements.

    But if I may, I’d like to front load the discussion with a caution: “Entitlements” is a loaded term.

    I am a veteran who paid into Social Security for 50 years. I draw an SS check, Medicare eases the cost of my meds, and the VA stands ready to help me. I do not believe that I am “entitled” to these things. I believe that I earned them. This is more than a semantic distinction and the inability of people to see the difference stinks up the entire discussion.

  • slamfu

    No Shaun you are a mooching 47 percenter living off the sweat and toil of our “Job Creator” betters, haven’t you been paying attention? If we don’t be nice to them they may take their ball and head off to John Galt’s magical city and leave us to fend for ourselves.

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