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Does Military Service Turn Young Men Into Sexual Predators?

Posted on Oct 22, 2009
U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young

Penny Coleman, AlterNet

(Page 3)

Tia Christopher, women veterans coordinator at Swords to Plowshares in San Francisco, holds Dominguez, not Whitley, responsible for flouting congressional directives.

"I heard him claim that the reason sexual assaults are so high in the military right now is the hip-hop influence. I don’t need to spell out why I found that so offensive. I fault Dominguez for not recognizing that it is a leadership issue."

Christopher loves the military and calls it "a really beautiful machine" when it is working correctly. But she is a rape survivor, and she feels doubly betrayed by her superiors in the Navy. "They can respond to other situations, why not to sexual assault?"

Christopher was 18 when she joined the Navy, training to be a cryptologist. The night she was raped, she had been drinking.


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"Underage drinking," she notes, "is a big issue in the military. It gets you an Article 15, and it’s 100 percent guaranteed that you will be prosecuted for collateral misconduct. It is far more likely that you will get in trouble for collateral misconduct [from drinking alcohol] than for raping someone. So I destroyed all the evidence. I bleached my sheets and scrubbed myself up and didn’t come forward until two weeks later. I wanted to keep my military career, and I thought I could just get through it.

"But I saw him every day. I mustered with him. He would follow me into the chow hall and sit across from me while I ate. I stopped eating, couldn’t concentrate, started failing my courses. And I started having flashbacks, hallucinating. I thought I saw him everywhere."

Christopher finally realized she needed help, but the female petty officer she first spoke to got her chief involved and, as the report went up the chain of command, her nightmare just got bigger.

"In my case, there were witnesses. They heard my head hit the wall in the barracks room, but they were drinking [underage], too."

Her commanding officer promised them all immunity if they agreed to testify on her behalf, and then reneged on the deal.

"It ended up that they all got in trouble, and [her rapist] got off." (In 2006, Christopher’s attacker was expelled from the military for another rape.)

"The last few months that I was in the service, I was assigned to X Division, mopping the stairs, cleaning the heads, picking hair out of the drains. It was my job to vacuum the different chief’s offices, and these sleazeballs would say things like, ‘Hey, Christopher, bend over when you’re sweeping.’ Or, ‘Hey Christopher, let me see them titties.’ When you come forward about a rape, basically you are just a slut."

Christopher left the military in 2001, and it took her a long time to get her life back together. She still has panic attacks, flashbacks, trouble sleeping. But, with help from a women’s psychotherapy group at the Seattle VA, and the rich support from sympathetic colleagues at Swords to Plowshares, she has developed a lot of coping skills.

After seven years, and some good therapy, she feels strong enough to manage her advocacy and policy work.

"I’ve testified before the California state legislature, and I was invited to testify before Congress. I speak out about MST as much as I do so other women don’t have to. This is not just my job. There is no way I would ever give my clients to the media. I remember what it was like, being fresh out of the service and going through that trauma."

Lisa Pellerin, who has facilitated sex-offender programs for the New York State Department of Corrections for six years, believes that "everyone has the potential to be a sex offender. It depends on how they have been conditioned. When they are in the military, supporting the brotherhood is the most important thing. Soldiers do what they feel they have to do because they don’t want to be seen as weak or unable to perform.

"Sexual abuse has always been about power and control. If you are exposed and desensitized to certain sexual behaviors, they become normalized."

One of the most basic conditioning strategies military training uses to destabilize a recruit’s inherent disinclination to kill is the inculcation of a dehumanized enemy. Soldiers are taught that "we" are the good guys; "they" are the "others."  "They" are easier to kill because they are not us. They are also easier to despise. "Others"—the nips, the gooks, the hajis—come and go, but ever reliable and constant is "the girl."

Even in this new 20 percent female military, misogynist marching rhymes (aka jodies) are still used, and drill instructors still shame recruits with taunts of pussy or sissy, faggot or girl. Patty McCann, who signed up with the Illinois National Guard when she was 17 and deployed to Iraq when she was 20, still feels betrayed when she remembers her drill sergeant yelling, "Does your pussy hurt?" and "Do you need a tampon?"

A culture that encourages violence and misogyny, says Helen Benedict, attracts a disproportionate number of sexually violent men: half of male recruits enlist to escape abusive families, a history that is often predictive of an abuser.

But whatever attracts them, and wherever they come from, this is about a system plagued by rot, and not about a few bad apples. American veterans embody the inevitable, predictable blowback from that rotten system.

It is both unjust and disingenuous to focus on what our soldiers have become without talking about what we have become: A society that romanticizes its warriors, demonizes its veterans and devalues its women.

"Did I serve my full enlistment?" Christopher says. "No. But that’s because some shitbag sailor who shouldn’t have been wearing the uniform came into my life. Why is that my issue?

"This is a leadership issue."

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 27, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

When I separate my billy goat from the females he becomes an animal, sort of like the Hulk. Since I live in declining farm country, my vision of Bulls running the fence seems to say men are animals?  Maybe a little animal husbandry needs to be instituted? Violence and violence toward women seems to be very different things?

Men who have lack of respect for women seem prevalent, this was somewhat discussed on Hedges live. jos report on from the Porn convention.

Lack of respect with hormones seems more at issue?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

Considering you are a narcissistic jerk and that might be the only thing in the
universe that I am right about, bye.

Report this

By stcfarms, October 26, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

I believe that it was you that brought it up, I had made no statement as to her
sexual orientation. Considering that you are wrong about everything in the
universe further conversation is pointless. Fix the world yourself, I am outta

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

Why do you assume Alice27 is a lesbian?  Again you have jumped to
a stupid conclusion.  But to whom would it matter if she was?  Whining as you
do you would most likely be better off if you did withdraw from civilized
society.  Sounds like you have a savior syndrome.  Your sense of altruism is
much too inauthentic.  It was glaringly noticed that you did not call your dad’s
gay brother, Uncle!  That was a psychic distancing.  And that you chose a
girlfriend for the size of her brain? instead of because you loved her?  What a
hoot.  You are not any cut of a man that would have interested me not by any
stretch of your imagination.  You might check to see if you are even capable of
genuine love. 

BTW:  Diogenes, was an ancient Greek Cynic philosopher who dramatically
discarded conventional comforts, wearing rough woven rags, slept on the
ground, and lived in a tub.  He looked in vain for an “honest man.”  I wonder
what he wanted from that honest man?  And he was somewhat of a
misanthrope, hating humankind.  Too bad he was stuck in his human body.  Do
you suffer the same way?

Report this

By stcfarms, October 26, 2009 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

Oddly enough I first joined truthdig with altruistic intentions but the more
that I find out about the civilized humans the less that I see worth saving. Like
Diogenes I find little truth in my fellow humans. Nature will soon test your
theory that you civilized folks are better than us uneducated savages. I wish
you and Alice all the luck that you deserve. My dad’s brother is gay and it does
not threaten me so why would I care that Alice is a lesbian? I chose my
girlfriend by the size of her cerebral cortex, you would not have made the cut
by any stretch of the imagination.

By Shenonymous, October 26 at 10:23 pm #

  Seeing what you posted here, I doubt your ethics and doubt you have any
principles, especially when it comes to women.  You give a good idea the kind
of women you like. 

I would wager that Alice27 loves men too.  But if she doesn’t, she might
have good reason, or she might be lesbian.  So what?  Are you threatened? 
remember that this article is about men who are sexual predators.  Are you
secretly one of them?  Would you admit it if you were?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

You assumption is ridiculous, stcfarms, I happen to love men.  Men who are
moral and have backbone, that is.  Men who are responsible and have a real sense
of justice not simply exhibit their bravado every chance they get.  Men like you are
the problem, who jump to stupid conclusions on an Internet forum.  Seeing what
you posted here, I doubt your ethics and doubt you have any principles, especially
when it comes to women.  You give a good idea the kind of women you like. 

I would wager that Alice27 loves men too.  But if she doesn’t, she might
have good reason, or she might be lesbian.  So what?  Are you threatened?  Just
remember that this article is about men who are sexual predators.  Are you
secretly one of them?  Would you admit it if you were?

Report this

By stcfarms, October 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Women that hate men are exactly like the men that hate women, stupid.
Civilizations that create folks like you and Alice are the problem, not the

Alice, all men are devils and all women saints and when you come to power
you can put them all to death…

By Shenonymous, October 26 at 6:47 pm #

And stcfarms, there are lots of caves around, you could withdraw from our
sick society

By Alice27, October 26 at 6:34 pm #

I have started calling deserving men m——- f———
which describes their behavior more eloquently and puts the blame on them.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 26, 2009 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

No offense to me Alice27.  But then I’m one of those women pretty much
like you.  I have a few choice words m’self!

And stcfarms, there are lots of caves around, you could withdraw from our
sick society and become a noble savage if you want to give up your computer,
grow your own food (be sure to get your seeds from Burpee), do your own fishing
(don’t use any modern rod or net, use only a stick), kill your own wild hogs with
spears you make, make your own clothes, out of what?, clean your clothes in
the nearby river, read only in the daytime, and hibernate during the winter, well
maybe not that last one!  What a hoot.

Report this

By Alice27, October 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Yes, war is violent; however, many disrespectful be-haviors are instilled into our male children from the
time they are born. Sissy, don’t cry, you’re acting like a girl, dislike for pink, etc., and in the movies referring to recruits as ladies, prima donnas,
and even girly men. Even our curse words are directed
at women being at fault, i.e., sonofab——. I have started calling deserving men m——- f———
which describes their behavior more eloquently and puts the blame on them. So much for all that. I hope I haven’t offended anyone by using these words as that was not my intention.

Report this

By stcfarms, October 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, life was tough before civilized humans began to enslave and murder
millions of their fellow humans. When civilized man appeared about 12,000
years ago life was much different, you lived in a cave, you could drink from a
stream, the air was clean and you knew where your food came from. Civilized
humans live in cities, have water that I would not slop to hogs coming from
the tap, breathe air that you can cut with a knife and eat GM food full of
poison. Gee, I can see all the improvements, could you tell me of the
downside? Murder in primitive societies is dangerous business and is not done

By Shenonymous, October 26 at 9:09 pm #

It is utterly phantasmic and romantic to think that the savage was noble and
lived well in the wilds of nature. 

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 26, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

It is utterly phantasmic and romantic to think that the savage was noble and
lived well in the wilds of nature.  It is the Montaigne and then Rousseau
unsupportable view.  Each men believes himself to be more deserving than any
other.  In the wild, if two men desire the same thing which they both cannot
have, they turn into enemies at once.  Modern man has learned that there can
be times when war over things can be negotiated without resort to war.  The
natural impulse for humans is to civilize.  Primitive savages were
hunter/gatherers.  Humans discovered that forming agrarian (farming)
communities provided security and a more regular food supply for the species. 
There were countless numbers of wars between savage groups, as archaeology
shows.  The noble savage is a myth as much as any bible story is a myth.  And
Hercules was not an existent man, but was an archetypal heroic ideal.  To be
violent is a natural tendency.  Only when populations learned how to be self-
sustainable beyond hunting and gathering was there less warfare.

It was only when mankind had time to think about things other than
subsistence, and had the moment to contemplate, did thoughts about common
human value occur.  It was only when mankind developed morals that murder
and warfare became behaviors to control.  Morals are useful only for
communities.  Freemen do not need morals.  Modern man has forgotten why it
turned from hunting/gathering to be the community man.  In the words of
Thomas Hobbes, the principal causes of ‘quarrel’ (war) between men are
competition (for gain), diffidence (for safety), and glory (for reputation).  So war
is caused by men who are in competition for personal gain, who fear for their
safety and collect into self-protective troops, and the unmitigated and
conceited desire for glory. 

When men live in a condition where there is no common control, they
automatically live in a condition of ‘war.’  Besides actual fighting, war also
includes the potential to fight.  This potential exists whenever there is no
control to prevent fighting.  What control do you recommend?  Or is it simply
rhetoric and idle speculation what you say about men and their proclivity do
violence and to make war?  Fearing death and sustaining the species motivates
men to find the conditions for a peaceful society, to create those controls.

Report this

By stcfarms, October 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

Since taxpayers pay for the rape of their child soldiers as well as the rape of
their victims then war must be a form of taxpayer porn. You must be so

By Folktruther, October 26 at 2:31 pm #

In continuation of Elisa’s theory, the emotional fear of death appears to
heighten the sexual drive in men, from antidotal and artistic information.  the
military, and the power system, takes advantage of this heightened sexual
drive to eroticize war. Indeed, stabing someone or shooting a gun have
obvious sexual counterparts. War itself is authorized rape.

A good example of this tendency is the mission of the US power system to
sexually humiliate the prisoners it tortures.  This is communicated to the
troops leading to institutions like Abu Graib.  The tension of war is used by the
miltary to inflict sexualized power on the Enemy.  Or whoever. 

Report this

By Folktruther, October 26, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

In continuation of Elisa’s theory, the emotional fear of death appears to heighten the sexual drive in men, from antidotal and artistic information.  the military, and the power system, takes advantage of this heightened sexual drive to eroticize war. Indeed, stabing someone or shooting a gun have obvious sexual counterparts. War itself is authorized rape.

A good example of this tendency is the mission of the US power system to sexually humiliate the prisoners it tortures.  This is communicated to the troops leading to institutions like Abu Graib.  The tension of war is used by the miltary to inflict sexualized power on the Enemy.  Or whoever. 

This would account for a book on military culture by an Israeli professor, van Somebody, whose theme is that war is fun.  It traditionally has been fun, or sport,  for the upper classes.

Great article, truthdig deserves credit for reprinting it.

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By stcfarms, October 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

It is not the savage in us that is violent, it is the civilized in us that is violent.
The savage in us lived well for millions of years becoming the apex predators
of all animals. The civilized among us used this power to force the weak to
obey them. Religions and governments were formed to keep the slaves
compliant with lies rather than whips. The illusion of printed paper as wealth
made the sheep happy. The empire believes that they own you because you
are inferior, they did quit calling you slaves though…

The savage among us prefer to define wealth as freedom, food, water,
knowledge, energy et cetera. This angers the powers that be but the savage
can destroy them with the truth. The empire cannot survive if their slaves just
walk away. Society creates it’s monsters, it is society that must be cured. Tao
calls you tame humans because you will die out without the savage in you. The
savage takes what he needs, the civilized take what they can.

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By Shenonymous, October 25, 2009 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

Well, speaking of power over ... next we could go to the atrocious situations
in American prisons.
 said gerard  Aren’t we witnessing man’s
inhumanity to man?  Since man is part of the animal kingdom, isn’t it man’s
nature to be inhuman to one another, to be savage?  Some men have
genetically evolved that savagery out of themselves.  Some men have given up
their savagery. Isn’t it up to those men to teach the others to transcend their
genes?  Isn’t it also up to mothers and evolved fathers to teach their boys as
well?  NIce sentiments isn’t it?  Do we really think it is conceivable for a
retraining of the entire world of men to take charge and winnow out the
predator urges?  Are we fooling ourselves that it is possible in any generational
time period?  Are you yourself contributing to changing this disposition? 

The alleged cycle:  young men serve in the military, learn to be violent whether
aggressively or defensively, it does not matter.  Vestiges of their genetic violent
nature is enhanced.  Some of them become predators.  Do we know how many?
I reread the article and not once did the author give an estimate of how many
men leave the service who would have predator inclinations. It might be said
that is not a figure that can be known.  So a percentage increase in aggravated
assault and rape or other sexual assault is used as an indicator of increased
violent behavior.  But that does not say of how many total military veterans that
is a percentage.  The majority are not predators, the majority are not criminal. 
But even that does not tell the entire story.  Of the majority who have not been
prosecuted for any violence, how many simply got away with it because it was
not reported?  How shall we deal with this problem?  There are no simple
solutions such as get rid of war.  That is utopian and possibly can be achieved
but it will take eons for mankind to assimilate the non-aggressive gene.  The
world is too complex and too many ideological differences for war to be
eliminated…yet.  We have to hope mankind will evolve.

Men and women alike have to address it, but we cannot unless we understand
exactly what is the problem.  Since it is a behavior problem, that means it is a
mental problem.  It is also a moral problem which is also a mental problem but
it is diffused throughout the society.  Society needs to give better definition to
their morals.  Much more psychiatry and psychology has to be practiced to find
out better the nature of these crimes.  It is one thing to react, and we should
because if we don’t then we condone it and it is our fault if it is perpetuated,
but the reaction should be with a conscious mind about what really is the thing
we are reacting against and there has to be agreement about what to do about
it.  There will be political problems, religious problems, and other undefined
social problems.  It is just too easy to flalmboyantly speculate on what to do.

Report this

By gerard, October 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Well, speaking of power over ... next we could go to the atrocious situations in American prisons.  It’s no secret what happens behind locked doors there, but ... the entire “law and order” system is based on punishment, not rehabilitation. “They are criminals so they deserve it!”) 
The “War on Drugs” really means war on people—especially people who can’t afford expensive attorneys. When you try to plead mercy or common sense in this situation you are met with sneers as “soft on crime” etc.  Truth is, most people want to pretend to be “tough” because they are actually afraid to face their tenderness, or words to that effect. It takes guts to be kind.
  Most wardens and some guards know the benefits of reform. But “the system” (means those who are exploiting the situation, or those who get elected on a “tough on crime” mantra, and those who should pay attention and are not) overpowers the efforts of reformers. It is a farce that is rotting from the inside out.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall . . . . .?

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By lichen, October 24, 2009 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Yes, these young men grow up as the victims of violence, both physical and sexual—often from places (i.e. texas) where they would likely have been paddled both at home and school all throughout their childhoods, subjected to cruel, authoritarian adults.  Then, they are inducted into militarism; the profoundly anti-life US military, where they are trained to hate, ignore themselves, and murder. 

People feign surprise when all of this doesn’t have good results for society.  And, further, people ignore the fact such cultures just as easily prey on ‘weaker’ males—just as easily lead to terrible crimes against males, such as the innocent teenage boys picked up in Iraq and Afganistan and tortured.  We shouldn’t pretend that there wasn’t abuse in the military before women arrived. And these conditions would be a terrible crime against the boys whether women were ever involved, or not.

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By Bbethany7, October 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Get one thing straight. Humans are compelled
to commit viciously cruel, atrocious acts of
and murder against “enemies”. It’s a primitive
impulse. Proof of this is clear if you look into
the long history of conquest, murder, rape,
pillage, destruction, slavery, religious
persecution, genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc.
We are still primitively tribal despite the fragile
gloss of “civilization”. Get used to it.  Visit
Darfur and Zimbabwe or go back to Nanking,
Kosovo, Auschwitz, Attila, Genghis Khan, Vlad
the Impaler, Caligula, Mao, Stalin, Hitler,
Kissinger, Cheney, and so many others.

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By berniem, October 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

What a surprise! We take immature, mostly male persons into an organization who’s sole purpose is death and destruction, physically and mentally abuse them, teach them to hate their “enemy”( as if many of these recruits weren’t already bigoted enough),  teach them how to use really “cool” implements of mass destruction, turn them loose on the world to ply their newly learned skills, then wonder why they do awful things in theatre and, later, upon return home(should they luck out). Throw in a good dose of bible thumping along with a strong measure of American exceptionalism conceit and, violla, you have a borderline psycotic on your hands. Even better, upon return refuse to acknowledge that whats been done to this person is cruel and unnatural and that any subsequent negative behaviors are due to their own inherent defects and now we have lit the fuse to a bomb which can either ex- or implode.  The glorification of militarism with its pomp and ceremony is disgusting. The “conservative”, support the troops, pro-life crowd live in a bubble of their own fantasy and hypocracy. The “greatest generation” and most of their unfortunate offspring still believe that proper child rearing entails corporal punishment and lack of prayer in school is the cause of our national woes. They are blind to the reality of the long term unintended consequences of sanctifying violence. Onward, christian soldiers! Go forth for the greater glory of the USA. But remember, when you get home, there’s no excuse for that kind of behavior here unless you channel it into “socially acceptable” areas(Wall St.,law enforcement).

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By jd, October 24, 2009 at 10:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anyone would have to be immoral and ignorant to join the US military today.  Millions of dead bodies have no effect on their perception of what US foreign policy is all about.

Women, in particular, would have to be borderline retarded to join the military today.  These rape stories are plentiful, out there in the news for decades, scandal after scandal.  Get a clue.

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By Shenonymous, October 24, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Pacific provides one of the most thoughtful and excellent posts. 

C Quill, the Catholic Church is feeling the sting of their own dogma.  To
allay the lack of recruits, they have had an economic epiphany and are opening
the Church’s doors to the High Anglicans to join the Catholics and the HRCC
will accept married priests into their fold.  Which means eventually Catholic
priests soon will have the sanctioned opportunity to marry instead of having
sex surreptitiously with women, and men, children or adult.  So that will
unleash another large group of men into society to have sex only now it will be
religiously legal.  Want to bet the sales of ED drugs will go up proportionally? 
Well married priests will provide more children to become members of the
Church.  Clever.  A question that might be relevant is how many priests or
preachers who served in the military when discharged raped women, or men,
or children?  Since they are trained to be moral individuals, any statistics could
shed light on the pathology of non-cleric men in the military.

As a young woman, I dated a local boy who had served in the Navy.  After a
couple of dates he wanted to have sex and I said no.  He was very angry.  He
ranted about how the Navy had taught him and the other men on board the
ship where he served all about sex and how to have it with women.  They didn’t
teach that love and respect ought to go with the act, but they had unending
porn movies and discussion on how to go about the act without any feeling
except to satisfy the sexual pleasure.  Needless to say, we never dated again.  (I
have children from a marriage, so don’t think I eschew sex except for the
unhealthy and disrespectful kind).  I have heard since then that that kind of
denigrating sex education is standard practice in the military.  I also heard that
military men were fed saltpeter in their meals, an anaphrodisiac, to diminish
the desire for sex.  I do not know if that is a true story.  But if that is true, it
could account for pent up sexual urges for when they are discharged from

golady has a point.  The thing is that babies are born atheists.  They are taught
to be religious by their families and morals are included in that teaching.  So if
boys are raised to disrespect women why would it be a surprise that as adults
men do not?  It isn’t elected officials who need training.  The entire population
needs training to raise their children, boys and girls, to understand mutual
absolute respect for all people.

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By golady, October 24, 2009 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Stcfarms

I understand that youngmen are victims of a militaristic society.  As we all are.  Everyone who lived during those years was impacted (mostly negatively) by the Vietnam War. Like many others, I wrote and phoned anyone I thought might stop the Iraq invasion.  I marched in my local state and went to Washington trying to prevent the deaths and maiming of youngmen who were not wise enough to know what was coming.  I did not ask for or condone war.
I will never ask anyone to fight a battle that I’m not willing to fight for myself. Have you heard the song “Universal Soldier”?  That song sums up my feelings about soldiers and wars.

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By stcfarms, October 24, 2009 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

Like the residents of Atlanta the taxpayers and congress should be forced to
witness the carnage that they pay for. Civilians paint all military people with
the same brush even though they are a cross section of society. Soldiers are
created by society to take resources away from other countries, create puppet
governments, force religion on non believers and in the case of Bush, revenge
for daddy. Undoubtedly some soldiers do rape and should be locked up, along
with the taxpayers that brainwashed and tortured him until he was crazy. I
have known some of these people and they were alright until boot camp.

“We have met the enemy and he is us” Pogo

By David, October 23 at 4:23 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

As most know by now, rape is not about sex but about power.

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By stcfarms, October 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

Civilian taxpayers forced me into the military against my will. A civilian
taxpayer hit me with a sign that said “baby killer” for doing what they forced
me to do. Veterans make up a quarter of the homeless because taxpayers do
not want them around after they are done with them. If you must have wars
then go fight your own battles. I do not hate women but I have no use for
taxpayers. Did it ever occur to you that if you hire the hit man that you are
responsible for his actions?

By golady, October 23 at 3:04 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I decided the military and perhaps men in general have deep seated low
regard and loathing for women in general.

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By paul bass, October 23, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HA! wonderful solution you all bring up for a problem the military does not have.

the military does not care if women get raped,, they care that soldiers fire their weapons.

don’t ask don’t tell, gender equality… in the military?
they kill people…
that what they do, there is nothing more morally degenerating than that period.
ask your self would you rather get stuck in an elevator with a serial rapist or a serial killer.

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By BobZ, October 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

I am shocked by the statistics presented in this article. They are appalling. When I
was in the Air Force during peacetime, I did not see any problems of this type and
I was in the Air Police. During wartime, the testoserone may rise substantially,
and the military may attract more recruits that could be capable of sexual assault.
What is particularly worrisome is the prevalence of sexual assault at the service
academies. They are supposedly the creme of our youth.  The Joint Chiefs need to
address this forthrightly and not tolerate this type of behavior. They need to rid
the military of “macho” type behavior while not impeding the mission of the
military. That may be a hard task to accomplish. The military is a harsh career in
the best of circumstances and we are not in the best of circumstances at the
momemt. We keep sending our troops back into harms way and they may be
contributing to the problem.

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By David, October 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As most know by now, rape is not about sex but about power.  Power over someone else on a personal level.  What is the first thing done to young men in the military?  They are made to feel helpless and powerless.  ‘Broken down’ in order to build them up.  What does that mean?  It means that they lose their independence and their self worth.  They are totally at the mercy of drill sargents and officers.  Often times they are hazed brutaly in sexual ways.  Sometimes they themselves are raped.  So how do these boys manage to get a little power over their lives back?  They exert their physical power over weaker people.  And the weaker people are mostly women.  Men in the military rape because they have lost control over their own lives and need to project some sort of power over another to get that feeling of control back.  Solution?  Make all new elected officials go through 6 weeks of boot camp before taking office.  Maybe then they would think twice before turning innocent children into rapists and murderers.

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By golady, October 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lords of Discipline, a book by Pat Conroy, is a fictional account of a young cadets experiences while attending the Citadel a military school. I suspect much of the attitudes, actions and words depicted in the story are based in fact.  The book left me horrified.  After I read it, I decided the military and perhaps men in general have deep seated low regard and loathing for women in general. Every aspect of womanhood was used as a weapon of degredation.  How could youngmen come away from such a barage of endoctrination without pshycological damage?  It comes as no surprise to me that military men are more likely to commit violent acts and rape women.  I never encourage anyone to join the military and I council against dating or marrying anyone who has served in the military.
Woman’s intuition…Such a nasty thing.

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By billybookworm, October 23, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who is to say that sexual predators are not more likely to enlist in the military? From my experience the miltary would offer a predator many opportunities to exploit weaker members of the force. Not simply weapons and training but authority, solidarity of force and the blame the victim attitude that permeates the military.

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By C Quil, October 23, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Pretty troubling statistics, and interesting that the sexually abused men in the military, though much smaller by percentage than women, are virtually equal in numbers. A constant military culture is a safe haven for psychos and sexual predators. To keep the numbers up, they have been reduced to accepting just about anybody, regardless of poor education, low I.Q. and previous convictions for violent crimes, including rape.

One reason women are overwhelmingly against war in all its forms is that it endangers them and kills their children.

It reminds me of the ongoing, but until recently covered-up, problems with the Catholic Church. It must have been well known, and probably a drawing card, for pedophiles that the Catholic priesthood gave maximum opportunity to predate upon children, with an understanding that crimes would never be prosecuted and the victims would never be believed.

The Church has a recruiting problem too. 

I’d go with the anti-Federalists on this one, who deplored the evil of standing armies as a drain on the public purse and danger to liberty.

Brutus on the Evil of Standing Armies

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By Pacific, October 23, 2009 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

The military by design is necessarily violent…it’s a little absurd to view it any other way.  But it does not have to be violent expressly toward women, particularly since women are such an important part of the contemporary military….which is not to say that it ever should have been justified or tolerated, let alone encouraged.  I think studies should focus more on privation over depravity.  Whenever you isolate a group of males, you are going to see some radically aberrant behavior.  I don’t believe GIs know how to act around their “hosts” in general, and particularly women in another coutnry…the more sought after acquaintance of the two sexes.  But there’s a conditioned fear of civilians trained into the soldier, a distrust and, yes, contempt for his male (if not female) counterpart.  That largely mythical little Vietnamese girl with the grenade…sure it happened, but damned infrequently…chances are she wasn’t so young, and chances are she just saw her parents killed or her village intentionally burned to the ground.  GIs don’t have the requisite social graces to interact with any given civilian populace almost by design…the military more often than not reinforces this ineptitude on the parts of its soldiers intentionally by demonizing whole nations of people with the hope of dehumanizing and desensitizing its “troops” sufficiently so that he (and she) don’t care particulary about the lives they are commissioned to take.  Why else would violent and demeaning interrogations be carried out with such apparent glee?  Women guards seemed to get the same sick satisfaction as men from humiliating naked prisoners in Abu Grebe.  This is training.  Women can be trained as well.

But the statistics are very disturbing in this article.  So much violence directed at the weaker sex (the topic, obviusly).  I have a homespun theory about this, and it has to do with the power and might of our military, and how we, because of our great fire-power and generally superior weaponry (which obviously hasn’t always won our wars) regard ourselves as superior, and how we take on an assigned role of bully.  Bullies like weak victims as prey, be they women or inferior fighting forces.  If the American military, either collectively or individually, ever stopped long enough to consider what it was doing to a local population, it couldn’t continue.  There are just too many innocent victims of war, so many that we even have to conceal them with the names we give them such as collateral or KIA, WIA, etc.  When we kill civilians…women, children and the elderly, “non-combatants,” (there, I used another)I believe it engenders a certain self-loathing, one that drives us futher to kill again.  With each killing comes increased contempt for ourselves and humanity, and particularly those memebers of humanity who can’t or won’t fight back…and contempt for those responsible for placing us in the role of killer, even if we might have volunteered.  The anger and shame we hold toward our own behavior, in a leap of irrationality (all killing is irrational, even self-defense), continue to feed a fear in our very souls that if we become a party to stopping the madness, we will surely never survive it.  The innocent are easy prey, and women become the objects of violence and rape because they are the easiest of prey.  We are little boys punishing our mothers for not having protected us from the madness before us.  We are lashing out at our fathers for not having better prepared us for the madness, and for making the madness a petty rite of passage to entain the village elders in Washington.

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By Anarcissie, October 23, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

While I disagree with Gerard about human nature, I do agree that rape is strongly associated with war and militarism, and that if we want to reduce one we’ll have to reduce or eliminate the other.  But that would interfere with the drive of our ruling class to dominate the world; they need a big military for that.  All the talk about leadership and so forth is a distraction.  We are dealing with some very fundamental principles here, and long observation of people’s conduct.

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By Bbethany7, October 23, 2009 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

Rape has been an instrument of war for many
thousands of years. Remember those old
cartoons of cave men clubbing women and
dragging them off? Another facet is the biological
imperative to diversification. War provides a supply of women with new and different genetic
and dna properties, a good chance to enrich
and broaden the species.

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By elisalouisa, October 23, 2009 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

I propose another theory. Our biological set up is such that of prime importance is
that our species continue. Built in to this is that danger to a male ups his sexual
prowess and need. Rape may be the only recourse to insure continuation of the
human race thus resulting in otherwise upstanding and moral men committing
rape. Those so driven do not know why such a change in their character has taken
place. You may say that military service does not necessarily equate to a
dangerous situation. True. But one who is far from home and in a situation he
deems threatening may react in just such a manner. This does not excuse the act.
The column asks a question and I provide one possible consideration. Don’t come
after me for facts, it is only a theory.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 23, 2009 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

There is no way to separate war from violence.  You train soldiers to kill the enemy that can be anyone.  Does anyone here remember that the Vietcong would strap grenades on the backs of women and children who would then blow themselves up around soldiers.  And there are more and more women suicide bombers these days because they are granted easier access to soldiers.  Being exposed to violence and death turns even the most sane individual into a deranged killer.  The macho military culture dehumanizes everyone but reserves special contempt for women.  So we see this as a consequence.  I can’t see any way to create efficient killing machines and then give them compassion towards humanity ... it is impossible.

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By P. T., October 22, 2009 at 11:04 pm Link to this comment

The solution is to train fighting forces, men as well as women (remember Abu Ghraib?), not to be violent.  Not sure how successful they will be as warriors though.

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By Joe, October 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its kind of a chicken or egg question

You have to imagine that the impulse that drove them to agree to kill others blindly based on the government’s say so is similar to the impulse for raping women

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By mike112769, October 22, 2009 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Gerard: Agreed, sir.

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By gerard, October 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

So who wants to take this one on?
1.  War equals brutality, and the side that is most brutal, wins more often than not.
2.  Brutality is not a “normal” human characteristic. It has to be trained in.  Such training damages the human psyche.
3.  It is necessary to call brutality “strength,”
“manliness,” “courage,” “heroism”  “samurai spirit,” whatever, in order to disguise the evil behind it.
4. Since the days of the hunter societies,
“machoism”  has been played up as strength and women have been victimized because they are physically weaker—a sure sign of veiled cowardice.
5. War can be regarded as an enormous, destructive hang-over from the brutal hunter societies, no longer necessary but not yet outgrown.
6.  Re-define “strength.”  Get rid of war. Don’t reward violence.

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