Raped and Discharged
Pictured above are among the "number of women [to] have come forward to say they were discharged for 'personality disorders,' – which means no healthcare, no disability benefits — after they filed sexual assault charges with the chain of command against fellow servicemen," from the heroic Kelley Beaucar Vlahos' report — The Rape of Our Military Women.
[The story's not new, nor is it isolated, as this four-year-old report attests — Covered up: More than 1/3 of American woman soldiers raped. "My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military," said former congresswoman Jane Harman, quoted in the story. (However far her jaw dropped, she went on to monger war with the best of them, "resign[ing] from Congress in February 2011 to become the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars," we learn.)]
Ms. Vlahos eloquently argues "that after shock-integrating women into what is still largely an obdurate, misogynistic institution, the Pentagon is ill-equipped to deal with the staggering rise of rape and assault, the predatory behavior and harassment, and the callous nature of battlefield commanders, who in a growing number of documented cases, have reacted to the plight of young female service members with the grace of Pleistocene Neanderthals."
After noting that "women make up approximately 15 percent of the active duty force and 20 percent of the reserve components," Ms. Vlahos says "the military would not have been able to wage the Long War without them." This second claim I knee-jerkedly rejected as so much feminist claptrap, but after a moment's reflection, realized that she's dead right. The American paradox of fighting imperial wars with a volunteer army requires every warm body whose brain can be washed to fight. Any why would the war machine discipline and imprison a stronger male when a weaker female can more efficiently be discharged?
"Whatever we might think of the war," writes Ms. Vlahos, "the systematic abuse of the enlisted and our veterans is an ongoing disgrace as old as this country." Amen.
Imagine, for a moment, if Iraqis or Afghans had done this to our girls. A Google search for "Iraqis rape American female" turns up some pretty horrifying stuff, not about Iraqis, but about male American soldiers and military contractors. If every troop is now a "hero" in post-America, aren't they all, every last one them, rapists by the same logic? Might not our girl soldiers been safer captured by Iraqi insurgents or Taliban fighters than among their fellow citizen soldiers?