ONTD Political

TW for Rape.

Here's one take on U.S. militarism and the culture of domination:

"Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self-respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

"...Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. . . . That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."

Here's another:

"I can't sleep without drugs. But even then, I often wake up in the middle of the night, crying, my mind racing. And I lie there awake in the dark, reliving the rape, looking for a second chance for it to end with a different outcome, but he always wins."

The first speaker is Gen. George S. Patton, addressing the troops of the Third Army on June 5, 1944 -- the day before D-Day. The second is Kate Weber, quoted in a story by Lucy Broadbent in the UK/Guardian last December, about being raped when she was in the U.S. Army while stationed in Germany in the 1990s -- one of many, many thousands of women who have suffered such a fate, usually in silence, while serving in the military.

What a country! What a watchdog media we have, now hemorrhaging trivial details about the "adultery scandal" that has brought down CIA director David Petraeus, the erstwhile revered four-star general who has presided for a decade over various aspects of that abysmal American failure known as the war on terror, with a second general, John Allen, now entangled in the same growing morass of impropriety as well. The awkward context of all this is the honor code of the American military, which prohibits extramarital sex . . . except (this is the real world speaking now) in the case of rape.

The irony of all this is excruciating, and radiates in several directions. As numerous commentators have pointed out, the crimes and excesses of the U.S. military-- from massive civilian slaughter to the toxic contamination of the countries we invade to drone terrorism -- are legion, but hardly even newsworthy. Yet the outing of Petraeus' affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, has shaken the empire to its moral foundations.

Furthermore, consider the unbelievable investigative energy that went into the FBI's discovery of the couple's relationship.

"So not only did the FBI -- again, all without any real evidence of a crime -- trace the locations and identity of Broadwell and Petreaus, and read through Broadwell's emails (and possibly Petraeus'), but they also got their hands on and read through 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails between Gen. Allen and (Jill) Kelley," wrote Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian. "This is a surveillance state run amok."

In contrast, it seems as though zero energy goes into the investigation of actual rape in the military, except in rare circumstances. The military's domination culture, personified by Patton, is constructed on the illusion of granite-etched moral values -- "we protect our loved ones" -- and powered by a belief in its own righteousness.

Thus, "Petraeus had no choice but to resign," writes Dale McFeatters, a columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. "The country, including several of its presidential commanders in chief, may find the military's adherence to a code of honor and fidelity quaint, but the uniformed services do not. Petraeus was nothing if not a soldier."

This is the military's near-impenetrable fortress of public relations, behind which cruel realities fester. In 2010, according to the Pentagon's own Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, there were an estimated 19,000 cases of rape in the military, the large majority of which went unreported -- because the crime of rape is far easier to endure than the humiliation, shunning and punishment that usually accompanies its report.

"Rape in any circumstance is brutal, but in the military the worst effects are compounded," wrote Broadbent in her Guardian story. "Victims are ignored, their wounds left untended, and the psychological damage festers silently, poisoning lives. Survivors are expected to carry on, facing their attacker on a daily basis."

One place that military rape victims have begun speaking out is at the website mydutytospeak.com, e.g.: "The man that raped me and almost killed me (was) treated as the victim and I was told that I was at fault for no reason other than because I am a woman and should not have been walking alone," wrote a woman who served in the Massachusetts National Guard. "You read that right, I am a woman and therefore because I took the risk of walking ALONE I was at fault for being raped. I was not out partying. I was not out drinking. I was simply walking alone -- in uniform -- when he grabbed me and raped me."

Americans love a winner! But to reiterate Kate Weber's words, several decades after she was sexually assaulted and, subsequently, shunned and ignored: "I lie there awake in the dark, reliving the rape, looking for a second chance for it to end with a different outcome, but he always wins."

He won't stop winning until we rethink the very meaning of national security. The scandal that brought down Petraeus is just a cover for the deep wrong of militarism.

(Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is a nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his Web site at commonwonders.com.)

During my time in the military I've seen women in my units singled out and forced to wear rape-whistles (Yes, RAPE WHISTLES) and not allowed to walk alone at all while male soldiers enjoyed all the benefits of freedom. Stateside, I've also seen men in my unit force women in our unit to leave a club during off-duty hours because they were leaving and they insisted that we stick together and that they weren't going to leave them there for "anything to happen to them." This has all happened in multiple units on multiple occasions, this male view of having to "protect the women"; this male view of dominance basically. We're all walking around with loaded guns and yet women can't possibly protect themselves and if they ever shot a male soldier for rape or attempted rape you better believe that the female who protected herself would have her ass handed to her in a court martial. On the flip-side, this same attitude of misogyny is what perpetuates all the rapes that occur on women and yes, on other men as well and slut-shames women into not speaking about what happened to them and shames men into thinking it's "unmanly" to have been raped.

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