Monday, April 7

semper fi?


Big Man posted on this over the weekend. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I believe that our soldiers have placed their lives in our hands. For whatever reason they may have joined the military they have effectively abjured many of the rights of civilian life and given themselves over to us, to be used as we see fit. We elect the people who put them in harm’s way. They serve each of us, whether we want them to or not. It is a sacred trust and we betray that trust when we allow their lives to be spent unnecessarily, but I digress.
Our armed forces are not only made up of men, but of women as well. Although women are not supposed to be serving in forward combat units the reality of Iraq is that there aren’t any safe zones, every soldier there is a combat soldier. This week, while Generals and Ambassadors speak with Congressmen and Senators about the war our soldiers will continue fighting and dying in Iraq, our veterans will continue suffering physical and psychological pain that most of those in the upper echelons cannot comprehend and that the rest of us don’t want to. In the shadows of all of this, away from the morning news and the hour-long investigative reports female soldiers are being raped and violently harassed in record breaking numbers.
These women are putting their lives on the line alongside men, they are leaving their families behind to wait and worry alongside men, and they are performing their duties alongside men. Each night as darkness falls in the barracks, on the bases where our soldiers are supposed to be safe these women are being savagely attacked in record numbers. Their attackers are not being court-martialed and many times these women have to continue serving daily with men who have brutally raped them. There is nowhere for them to turn. There is no justice.
Magazines and newspapers like Salon.com, The LA Times, and The Nation have broken stories on this atrocity, but the women risking their lives and their sanity for this country have been betrayed by their fellow soldiers, their leaders and we will compound that betrayal unless we speak up now and put a stop to this. Please follow the links and read these articles. I don’t think you will be able to stay silent once you do.
Many of you have readerships far larger than my own, I ask you now to share this news, don’t let them bury these women under statistics. I ask you also to e-mail your senators and your congressperson. Call your local newspaper and ask why no one is covering this story. From these numbers I can practically gauarantee you that there is at least one female soldier from your town who has lived or is living this nightmare. We can, we must put a stop to this and the first step is to shine a light into this darkness. Go on the message boards at CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX and make noise. Make enough noise that they can no longer sweep these women under the rug. We must speak for these women. We cannot accept this. This cannot stand. If we can’t help them then what are they fighting for?

12 Comments:

Big Man said...

Very powerful post. I hope people heed your plea.

WNG said...

Me too, Big Man, me too.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Yes!!!

WNG said...

Thanks Hearts - I knew you'd get it.

The CEO said...

No problem

WNG said...

As always, Monty, you are THE MAN!
Thanks!

NoRegrets said...

I'm sorry, brain cannot process right now. But hi! Hope you are well.

WNG said...

I am well and glad that you're back.

slag said...

I'm glad you brought this issue up. It's not just soldiers but the women contractors (mercenaries) over there are in an even tougher bind. They signed away their rights when they signed up. There is no military system of justice to help them; there is no Iraqi law to help them; and what the US justice system can do is very murky. Your last question is right on. They're "fighting for our freedom" while giving away theirs. It's utterly nonsensical. Thanks for this post!

WNG said...

Slag,
The CEO and I are trying to figure out how to make some more noise about this. We're looking at starting a petition to deliver to the House and Senate Government Oversight Comms in the hopes that hearing will be held. What do you think? Please let me know of any ideas you have.

slag said...

I like the petition idea. Although the challenge is to avoid accidentally trivializing these issues. Plus, I'm not expert enough in the law to know exactly what the oversight committees can do for this, specifically. Maybe an open letter in support of the victims as a way to draw attention?

This issue goes directly to what I've heard many Limbaugh-type Republicans say about why women shouldn't be soldiers. It's the whole "if you can't take the heat..." argument taken to a disgusting degree. Some Republicans think that women in war are all cost and little benefit. They think that, because most women have different physical capabilities and frailties than men have, we're somehow "lowering standards" by including them in the fight. They fail to recognize the strengths that women bring to balance the other weaknesses of men. Therefore, making changes in the way things are done so as to address women's issues is unthinkable to some. And that's one of the underlying reasons for our country's general indifference.

If I were to write a letter or a petition, I would strongly address the strengths that women have and how we need to prove that we value them by structuring our rules to support women as well as men.

Aren't you sorry you asked...

Echomouse said...

This has gone on far too long. As a woman who has been stalked, and harassed at work, this sort of thing hits close to home.

The only idea I can offer is to do follow the model surrounding PTSD in the military. It used to be called shell-shock, and was summarily dismissed as being wimpy. It took two world wars and finally, Vietnam, before it was officially named as PTSD and considered a legitimate ailment. Now, unfortunately, the soldiers are not admitting they have it, if they can hide it, for fear of it ruining their careers. But there is great progress being made around that finally. So use that as an example of a serious problem that will not go away and has to be addressed. Maybe they will start to listen to what is happening to these women.