Wired.com recently revealed that the Pentagon considered recruiting and hiring bloggers to promote their message and attack and hack the sites of those those antithetical to their interests.
Given that, I'd just like to take an opportunity to discuss the Pentagon's policy of mass rape of American servicewomen.
Go ahead, Pentagon. Hack me.
For an excellent and lengthy treatment of this topic, Salon.com's "The Private War Of Women Soldiers" is a must-read.
The LA Times ran an excellent opinion piece on the story this Sunday. It was written by Jane Harman (D-Venice) who chairs the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence:
The stories are shocking in their simplicity and brutality: A female military recruit is pinned down at knifepoint and raped repeatedly in her own barracks. Her attackers hid their faces but she identified them by their uniforms; they were her fellow soldiers. During a routine gynecological exam, a female soldier is attacked and raped by her military physician. Yet another young soldier, still adapting to life in a war zone, is raped by her commanding officer. Afraid for her standing in her unit, she feels she has nowhere to turn.
These are true stories, and, sadly, not isolated incidents. Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.
More than the incidents of rape is the fact that the military does not take this problem seriously, as evidenced by the low rate of serious discipline:
At the heart of this crisis is an apparent inability or unwillingness to prosecute rapists in the ranks. According to DOD statistics, only 181 out of 2,212 subjects investigated for sexual assault in 2007, including 1,259 reports of rape, were referred to courts-martial, the equivalent of a criminal prosecution in the military. Another 218 were handled via nonpunitive administrative action or discharge, and 201 subjects were disciplined through "nonjudicial punishment," which means they may have been confined to quarters, assigned extra duty or received a similar slap on the wrist. In nearly half of the cases investigated, the chain of command took no action; more than a third of the time, that was because of "insufficient evidence."
This is in stark contrast to the civilian trend of prosecuting sexual assault. In California, for example, 44% of reported rapes result in arrests, and 64% of those who are arrested are prosecuted, according to the California Department of Justice.
So someone tell me where the real war is. No, don't tell me. I understand:
We're raping them over there so we don't have to rape them over here.
Oh, I'm sorry, that's actually not true since there's a problem with military recruiters assaulting and raping potential enlistees, as reported by CNN and the AP. See the YouTube clip
Extra troubling: No Child Left Behind was designed, in part, to increase the ranks of the military. As stated by the CNN reporter above, "No Child Left Behind guarantees schools federal funding as long as they grant recruiters access to students on campus." The act also forces schools to provide students' home phone numbers and addresses.
No child left behind or no rapist left behind?
There is an epidemic of sexual assault in our military, and being stuck in this war only exacerbates the problem. Opposition to the war in Iraq is not simply about being "preoccupied" with the mistakes that got us into the war. It's about putting an end to all the costs associated with war, which go much farther and deeper than we generally acknowledge.
What can you do?