Sexual assault is alarmingly common in the U.S. military, and more than half of the victims are men. These are the stories you never hear—because the culprits almost always go free, the survivors rarely speak, and no one in the military or Congress has done enough to stop it.
The moment a man enlists in the United States armed forces, his chances of being sexually assaulted increase by a factor of ten. Women, of course, are much more likely to be victims of military sexual trauma (MST), but far fewer of them enlist. In fact, more military men are assaulted than women—nearly 14,000 in 2012 alone [38 per day]. Prior to the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011, male-on-male-rape victims could actually be discharged for having engaged in homosexual conduct. That’s no longer the case—but the numbers show that men are still afraid to report being sexually assaulted.
Military culture is built upon a tenuous balance of aggression and obedience. The potential for sexual violence exists whenever there is too much of either. New recruits, stripped of their free will, cannot question authority. A certain kind of officer demands sex from underlings in the same way he demands they pick up his laundry. A certain kind of recruit rapes his peer in a sick mimicry of the power structure: I own you totally. "One of the myths is that the perpetrators identify as gay, which is by and large not the case," says James Asbrand, a psychologist with the Salt Lake City VA’s PTSD clinical team. "It’s not about the sex. It’s about power and control."
Another neighbour, a patriarchal old Englishman with a white beard, kept a great stand of bees. I remember his incessant drumming on a tin pan to marshal them when they were swarming, and myself as idly wondering who first discovered that this was the thing to do, and why the bees should fall in with it. It struck me that if the bees were as intelligent as bees are cracked up to be, instead of mobilising themselves for old man Reynolds’s benefit, they would sting him soundly and then fly off about their business. I always think of this when I see a file of soldiers, wondering why the sound of a drum does not incite them to shoot their officers, throw away their rifles, go home, and go to work.
As you watch this exchange, pay close attention to the attire of the questioner. After Fox splices the recording, compare it to the attire of the individual leaving the microphone. People, this is what we are up against, even on a show hosted by a self-avowed libertarian. On matters of aggressive war there can be no compromise!
John Bolton Dodges Question; Insults Anti-War Veteran
This was easily one of the greatest moments of ISFLC. I’ve gotta admit, when this military guy started his question to former UN Ambassador (and neocon) John Bolton by saying that he was a Ranger, and that elicited applause from the crowd, I was confused for a second. Like, “what are you doing at a libertarian conference?,” and “why are we clapping about you being in the military?” But then he kept talking and I realized what the rest of the crowd apparently already knew: this guy was for real. Everyone around me had been asking, “when is someone going to ask about blowback?” and this guy did it better than anyone else could have.
And of all the people who asked questions during that taping, he was the only one who got a standing ovation. But as you’ll see in this clip, after Bolton gives a BS, cop-out answer, Fox edited in a clip of the crowd applauding so that Bolton wouldn’t look like the jackass that he is on national TV. But in actuality, he was booed pretty strongly for blatantly lying about the alleged accountability in the military and their supposed strict abidance to “military law,” whatever that means. The truth, unfortunately, is that the military is only held accountable for the atrocities it commits when information leaks and enough people get pissed off. And even then, soldiers get in trouble for killing dogs and abusing political prisoners, but never for killing reporters and other innocent people indiscriminately and destroying their homes and cities.
[PS. Check the disgusting comments on that last link so you can see what kind of country you live in, where the war propaganda machine is so effective and nationalism/jingoism so pervasive that it has succeeded in completely dehumanizing every single person who isn’t “American” to the point where we literally celebrate the massacre of “them dirty bastards” even knowing that they’re innocent.]
But in a country, where the perpetual menacings of danger oblige the government to be always prepared to repel it, her armies must be numerous enough for instant defence. The continual necessity for his services enhances the importance of the soldier, and proportionably degrades the condition of the citizen. The military state becomes elevated above the civil. The inhabitants of territories often the theatre of war, are unavoidably subjected to frequent infringements on their rights, which serve to weaken their sense of those rights; and by degrees, the people are brought to consider the soldiery not only as their protectors, but as their superiors.