THE PRIVATE WAR OF WOMEN SOLDIERS
Fri Mar 9, 2007 12:42
 

 
FPF-fwd. Salon + links

CONC.: THE PRIVATE WAR OF WOMEN SOLDIERS

FPF/Europe - March 9th 2007 - Apart from he fact that there is NO excuse anywhere in our world for the incredible inhumanity of the US war machine and its mercenaries to be anywhere else than in the United States and further wreck that country - trying to build their fascistic 'empire' - the article below gives quite an insight concerning the US junta's war machine which has to be fought on all fronts. Not only from within, because they rape all and everything dear to human beings.

All war criminals - male or female - and the treacherous traitors and collaborating war propagandists anywhere in the world must be fought and stopped. At any price. Resistance against the US/NATO war machine and its mercenaries is not only a legal right according to all human judgment, international law and conventions: resistance is a plight too. Everywhere the robbing murderers and their criminal collaborators of all nationalities appear in our world they are a danger to humanity: so fight them! - HR

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THE PRIVATE WAR OF WOMEN SOLDIERS

Many female soldiers say they are sexually assaulted by their male comrades and can't trust the military to protect them. "The knife wasn't for the Iraqis," says one woman. "It was for the guys on my own side."

By Helen Benedict

Mar. 07, 2007 - As thousands of burned-out soldiers prepare to return to Iraq to fill President Bush's unwelcome call for at least 20,000 more troops, I can't help wondering what the women among those troops will have to face. And I don't mean only the hardships of war, the killing of civilians, the bombs and mortars, the heat and sleeplessness and fear.

I MEAN FROM THEIR OWN COMRADES -- THE MEN.

I have talked to more than 20 female veterans of the Iraq war in the past few months, interviewing them for up to 10 hours each for a book I am writing on the topic, and every one of them said the danger of rape by other soldiers is so widely recognized in Iraq that their officers routinely told them not to go to the latrines or showers without another woman for protection.

The female soldiers who were at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, for example, where U.S. troops go to demobilize, told me they were warned not to go out at night alone.

WOMAN SCREAMS CAN'T BE HEARD

"They call Camp Arifjan 'generator city' because it's so loud with generators that even if a woman screams she can't be heard," said Abbie Pickett, 24, a specialist with the 229th Combat Support Engineering Company who spent 15 months in Iraq from 2004-05. Yet, she points out, this is a base, where soldiers are supposed to be safe.

SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA, 21, WHO WAS IN IRAQ WITH THE NATIONAL GUARD IN 2005, TOOK TO CARRYING A KNIFE WITH HER AT ALL TIMES. "THE KNIFE WASN'T FOR THE IRAQIS," SHE TOLD ME. "IT WAS FOR THE GUYS ON MY OWN SIDE."

Comprehensive statistics on the sexual assault of female soldiers in Iraq have not been collected, but early numbers revealed a problem so bad that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered a task force in 2004 to investigate. As a result, the Defense Department put up a Web site in 2005 designed to clarify that sexual assault is illegal and to help women report it. It also initiated required classes on sexual assault and harassment. The military's definition of sexual assault includes "rape; nonconsensual sodomy; unwanted inappropriate sexual contact or fondling; or attempts to commit these acts."

Unfortunately, with a greater number of women serving in Iraq than ever before, these measures are not keeping women safe. When you add in the high numbers of war-wrecked soldiers being redeployed, and the fact that the military is waiving criminal and violent records for more than one in 10 new Army recruits, the picture for women looks bleak indeed.

Last year, Col. Janis Karpinski caused a stir by publicly reporting that in 2003, three female soldiers had died of dehydration in Iraq, which can get up to 126 degrees in the summer, because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being raped by male soldiers if they walked to the latrines after dark. The Army has called her charges unsubstantiated, but Karpinski told me she sticks by them. (Karpinski has been a figure of controversy in the military ever since she was demoted from brigadier general for her role as commander of Abu Ghraib. As the highest-ranking official to lose her job over the torture scandal, she claims she was scapegoated, and has become an outspoken critic of the military's treatment of women. In turn, the Army has accused her of sour grapes.)

DEATHS WERE REPORTED AS NON-HOSTILE FATALITIES

"I sat right there when the doctor briefing that information said these women had died in their cots," Karpinski told me. "I also heard the deputy commander tell him not to say anything about it because that would bring attention to the problem." The latrines were far away and unlit, she explained, and male soldiers were jumping women who went to them at night, dragging them into the Port-a-Johns, and raping or abusing them. "In that heat, if you don't hydrate for as many hours as you've been out on duty, day after day, you can die." She said the deaths were reported as non-hostile fatalities, with no further explanation.

Not everyone realizes how different the Iraq war is for women than any other American war in history. More than 160,500 American female soldiers have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East since the war began in 2003, which means one in seven soldiers is a woman. Women now make up 15 percent of active duty forces, four times more than in the 1991 Gulf War. At least 450 women have been wounded in Iraq, and 71 have died -- more female casualties and deaths than in the Korean, Vietnam and first Gulf Wars combined. And women are fighting in combat.

Officially, the Pentagon prohibits women from serving in ground combat units such as the infantry, citing their lack of upper-body strength and a reluctance to put girls and mothers in harm's way. But mention this ban to any female soldier in Iraq and she will scoff.

"Of course we were in combat!" said Laura Naylor, 25, who served with the Army Combat Military Police in Baghdad from 2003-04. "We were interchangeable with the infantry. They came to our police stations and helped pull security, and we helped them search houses and search people. That's how it is in Iraq."

Women are fighting in ground combat because there is no choice. This is a war with no front lines or safe zones, no hiding from in-flying mortars, car and roadside bombs, and not enough soldiers.

AS A RESULT, WOMEN ARE COMING HOME WITH MISSING LIMBS, MUTILATING WOUNDS AND SEVERE TRAUMA, JUST LIKE THE MEN.

All the women I interviewed held dangerous jobs in Iraq. They drove trucks along bomb-ridden roads, acted as gunners atop tanks and unarmored vehicles, raided houses, guarded prisoners, rescued the wounded in the midst of battle, and searched Iraqis at checkpoints. Some watched their best friends die, some were wounded, all saw the death and mutilation of Iraqi children and citizens.

Yet, despite the equal risks women are taking, they are still being treated as inferior soldiers and sex toys by many of their male colleagues. As Pickett told me, "It's like sending three women to live in a frat house."

Rape, sexual assault and harassment are nothing new to the military. They were a serious problem for the Women's Army Corps in Vietnam, and the rapes and sexual hounding of Navy women at Tailhook in 1991 and of Army women at Aberdeen in 1996 became national news. A 2003 survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans from Vietnam and all the wars since, who were seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder, found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while in the military. And in a third study, conducted in 1992-93 with female veterans of the Gulf War and earlier wars, 90 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the military, which means anything from being pressured for sex to being relentlessly teased and stared at.

"That's one of the things I hated the most," said Caryle García, 24, who, like Naylor, served with the Combat Military Police in Baghdad from 2003-04. García was wounded by a roadside bomb, which knocked her unconscious and filled her with shrapnel. "You walk into the chow hall and there's a bunch of guys who just stop eating and stare at you. Every time you bend down, somebody will say something. It got to the point where I was afraid to walk past certain people because I didn't want to hear their comments. It really gets you down."

"THERE ARE ONLY THREE KINDS OF FEMALE THE MEN LET YOU BE IN THE MILITARY: A BITCH, A HO OR A DYKE," SAID MONTOYA, THE SOLDIER WHO CARRIED A KNIFE FOR PROTECTION.

"This guy out there, he told me he thinks the military sends women over to give the guys eye candy to keep them sane. He said in Vietnam they had prostitutes to keep them from going crazy, but they don't have those in Iraq. So they have women soldiers instead."

Pickett heard the same attitude from her fellow soldiers. "My engineering company was in the first Gulf War, and back then it had only two females," she said. "One was labeled a whore because she had a boyfriend, and the other one was a bitch because she wouldn't sleep around. And that's how they were still referred to all these years later."

[END QUOTE] - YOU CAN READ THE REST HERE AT SALON URL.: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/07/women_in_military/print.html


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FPF - RELATED LINKS:

* THE RAPE OF IRAQ, PART 2 (WARNING­ MAY TRIGGER) - Url.: http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2006/07/08/the-rape-of-iraq-part-2-warning-may-trigger/

* "OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM?" THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS ARE SHOCKING AND DISGUSTING. They show criminal acts in progress by uniformed military personnel in Iraq. The crimes are being committed against unarmed and defenseless civilians. There is no evidence that any of these victims were guilty of anything other than resisting the invasion and occupation of their own country. Women are being raped in their own bomb damaged homes. Perhaps their husbands, fathers and brothers were already killed. - Url.:http://www.universalfriends.org/prisoners_abuses_Iraq2.htm

* US: WAR PORNOGRAPHY INQUIRY CLOSED - AL JAZEERA - Url.: http://english.aljazeera.net/English/archive/archive?ArchiveId=15499

* US FASCISM: ''MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006'' - Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. - Benjamin Franklin - Wikipedia - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/ydkywt

* US CITIZENS: WATCH AND WEEP! Visit this site to check out what the war has cost your town or city or state. - Url.: http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182

* WHERE DOES ALL THE WEALTH GO? - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/y6xmed

* 'THE CROWN' RULES YOU TOO - Url.: http://theuniversalseduction.com/articles/how-the-crown-rules-the-world

* IN THE EVIL EMPIRE HUNGER KILLS 18.000 (eighteen-thousand) CHILDREN EVERY DAY! - According to 2007 figures by UN officials. - Url.: http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/137924/index.php

* R.I.P. Habeas Corpus & Powerless judges - Are we entering America's darkest hour? - Url.: http://www.cemab.be/news/2006/10/2015.php

* US "Death Squad Protection Act" - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/6xdfw

* THROW OUT WAR PROPAGANDISTS LIKE THE BBC, FOX, CNN ETC.! - Url.: http://www.cemab.be/news/2006/07/1632.php

* The Dutch author this far has lived and worked abroad - never in an English speaking country - for more than 4 decades for international media as an independent foreign correspondent. Of which 10 years - also during Gulf War I - in the Arab World and the Middle East. Seeing worldwide that every bullet and every bomb breeds more resistance against the US/NATO junta's war machine and its global terrorism!

* FPF-COPYRIGHT NOTICE - In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107 - any copyrighted work in this message is distributed by the Foreign Press Foundation under fair use, without profit or payment, to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the information. Url.: http://liimirror.warwick.ac.uk/uscode/17/107.html

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Editor: Henk Ruyssenaars
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