Quantcast

«

»

May 24 2013

Don’t just tell the grunts

Obama gave a commencement speech at the Naval Academy today, and used the occasion to tell them to quit saying “shut up and listen” to their superior officers. No no I’m kidding, he used it to tell them not to do sexual assaulting.

President Obama used a commencement speech before Naval Academy graduates on Friday to urge them to follow an “inner compass” and to warn that rising numbers of sexual assaults in the military threatened to erode America’s faith in the armed forces.

No, it doesn’t “threaten to”; it’s already done it. It’s not so much eroded as gutted my trust in the willingness of the people who are in charge of the armed forces to do a god damn thing about rampant sexual harassment. They act like the Vatican and I don’t trust them at all.

The president praised the military as the nation’s “most trusted institution,” but took note of the recent cases in which service members have been charged with sexual assault. He said those people “threaten the trust and discipline which makes our military strong.”

“We need your honor, that inner compass that guides you,” the president said, essentially using the platform at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to scold those who have strayed from that direction recently. “Even more than physical courage, we need your moral courage — the strength to do what’s right, even when it’s unpopular.”

Good, but also tell the people in charge do what they’re supposed to be doing. And could you make it so that crimes are not dealt with in-house? That’s not asking too much.

21 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    carlie

    I just read about this at Shakesville, and Melissa made another good point – it’s not just that assaults “threaten the trust and discipline which makes our military strong”, but that they hurt the victims. The president never mentioned “not hurting other people” as a reason not to do it. Victims erased.

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson

    Ah yes that too.

  3. 3
    danielross

    Well, he was talking to those in charge– at least, immediately in charge, since it’ll take the fresh class of officers a decade or two to filter into the upper echelons– which is a little bit more effective than talking to the “grunts.” Probably the ones most relevant to talk to in fact, since it’s the lower-echelon officers the enlisted are generally reporting to directly. But yeah, there’s certainly a lot of room to turn those nice *encouragements* into clear *rules.*

  4. 4
    Gretchen Robinson

    Good point, carlie.

    Too many institutions “act like the Vatican.” Notice in the Vatican, sexual abuse survivors were erased, as well. Everyone bow down and worship the male sex organ. Shock and Awe and PTSD, silencing, humiliating, shaming the victim. Sexual crimes that are not about sex. The penis is just the weapon of choice, the uber symbol of patriarchy.

    One of my favorite, if I can call it that, more helpful books is Silencing the Self: women and depression by Dana Crowley Jack. In it she shows the result of silencing women or any group which is silenced, controlled, dominated. It’s almost a dose-response: the amount of abuse and silences leads to the degree of depression and loss of self-esteem. The longer the sense of being intractably a victim and not a survivor, let alone a ‘thriver.”

  5. 5
    Eamon Knight

    Yeah, when the officer specifically in charge of getting rid of harassment gets arrested for groping, you know the situation is pretty dire….

    For his replacement, I suggest appointing the highest-ranking woman in the entire military. Yeah, I know, it shouldn’t have to be specifically a woman’s job, but suddenly it seems like the only way to avoid the aforementioned problem. And high-enough ranking that she has the authority to call in an (metaphorical) airstrike on anyone who gives her a hard time over it.

  6. 6
    sailor1031

    The issue is, as noted above, that the senior officers refuse to act; whether out of sheer complacency (never underestimate the power of this negative quality to maintain the status quo) or their general agreement that rape is a good thing. The solution is to force action at the highest levels by direct order from the commander-in-chief. Failure to act can be, and should be, punished with demotions, discharge, loss of pension or any of the other punishments routinely meted out to lower ranks. One admiral or three/four-star general kicked out with no pension will have the bastards lining up to get remedial actions underway in their commands. If only…….crap like this always starts at the top!

  7. 7
    naturalcynic

    @5: In fact, the highest ranking woman in the military [AFAIK], an Air Force Lt. General, is part of the problem. She was one of the commanding officers to dismiss a conviction of a sexual assault. She was the commander of Vandenburg AFB and her appointment to Head of Air Force Space Command has been temporarily [and probably permanently] quashed by Sen McCaskill and other women in the Senate.

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    the strength to do what’s right, even when it’s unpopular.”

    I nearly wrenched my neck from the force of the (eyeroll) that made me do.

  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    The solution is to force action at the highest levels by direct order from the commander-in-chief.

    Exactly. Until orders are pushed down and a few careers are ruined, nothing will change. If it’s an issue for the chain of command and there’s command responsibility, they’ll make sure the grunts get the message.

  10. 10
    Aratina Cage

    the strength to do what’s right, even when it’s unpopular.”

    I nearly wrenched my neck from the force of the (eyeroll) that made me do.

    Yeesh. That tells us all we need to know about how incredibly immoral the whole place is.

  11. 11
    Tim Harris

    It surely says something curious about the United States today that a Democratic president and man like Obama should assert that the military are the nation’s “most trusted institution”.

  12. 12
    sleepingwytch(inactive)

    The military is a corrupt, vile, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, mysogonist, rape enabling joke. When I think of our military, I think of rivers of blood and dismembered limbs of assholes laying everywhere on the ground after being pounded by artillery or something.

    It’s a bad joke, the military is a fucking joke, a patriarchal, genocidal, terroristic joke.

  13. 13
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    ^ sleepingwytch :

    And yet, for all their faults they keep you safe. Protect you and me and the world from greater harms and risk their lives to do so.

    Lest we forget.

  14. 14
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Risk and sometimes lose their lives to do so.

    What they do wrong deserves criticism. Fair enough.

    What they do right and what they sacrifice for us – we should NEVER forget.

    Because we do owe them our lives and our freedom.

    Also they are NOT the terrorists,
    The whackjobs who murder people at the ends of marathons in Boston and on the streets of London -t hose, *Those*, would be the terrorists.

    These would be the people, flawed as humans always are, who protect us from those Jihadist terrorists.

    Do not forget that please.

    People’s sons, brothers, sisters and more.
    Risking their lives,
    Losing their lives.
    For ours.

    At least one of my friends is doing just that.

    They act like the Vatican

    Oh come on – they cannot be *that* bad can they?!

    They’re a durn sight more use than Catholic priests I’d bet!

  15. 15
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Lest we forget.

    Kinda hard to forget that military is supposed to be worshiped, don’t worry. Incidentally, that’s one of the reasons crimes done by military personnel, even when they are done against their own, more often than not go unpunished.
    Soldiers are different from us, and their ways are not to be questioned, we should just say thanks for “protecting” (and really, considering the military you worship…. *gag*) us and close both our eyes to the horrors some of them commit.

  16. 16
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Also sleepingwytch (#12) “genocidal?” Our folks? Really? Seriously? (eyeroll.)

    No. Just no.

    When it comes to genocide, well, maybe you should try asking the Hazaras about Taliban rule or asking the Sunnis and Shias what each would like to do to each other and to the worlds one and only Jewish nation before reaching such absurd conclusions, eh?

    The US forces globally – genocide is NOT their goal.

  17. 17
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @15. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) :

    Not worshipped – no.

    But appreciated and respected for what they do and risk and sometimes lose – yes.

    Are you fighting for your nation? Are any of your friends or family doing so?

    If not, well, maybe think for just a sec about those who are.

  18. 18
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @15. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) :

    … close both our eyes to the horrors some of them commit.

    Did I say or imply that?

    I don’t think so. Not my meaning.

    Those who have done the wrong thing should be held accountable. Of course they should be.

    But blaming those majority of troops who haven’t done such things? No.

    And recognising what the troops do and risk and lose and suffer – most flippin’ definitely.

    You really going to dispute any of that?

  19. 19
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    If one of your close friends or family was over there fighting would you say what you do?

  20. 20
    sleepingwytch(inactive)

    ^ sleepingwytch :

    And yet, for all their faults they keep you safe. Protect you and me and the world from greater harms and risk their lives to do so.

    Lest we forget.

    Lest we forget, I was a grunt, don’t talk to me about their “sacrifice”, as I’m well aware of it, and it is tragic. It’s tragic anytime people die for an imperialist lifestyle. They died to keep Americans safe in World War II, not in Afhganistan or Iraq. In the Sandbox and Stan they died to preserve your corporate ability to have an iphone in your hand or a macbook, something like this, not your right to live safely, but your right to live luxuriously, there’s a huge difference. No one is arguing they aren’t fighting to preserve our way of life as they damn sure are: the way of life where we take from others through multinationals, and exploit the bejesus out of them through those same multinationals, while slaughtering a bunch of them in their country and calling it “freedoms”.

    Not only was I a grunt (referenced document, DD214 contained below in a link) but I was a grunt immediately after 9/11 and am therefore extremely fortunate to even be typing this. I think you owe me a thanks for my service smartass, not the other way around.

    http://imgur.com/a/7ZQVp/#2 (My DD214 from before I transitioned….I am a Transsexual woman…)

    Also, LOL@ Genocide, tell the Native Americans the US Army is not traditionally genocidal, seriously, you should try. It absolutely IS a genocidal institution given what it put the Native Americans through, all for white settler manifest destiny. Jesus, learn some history.

  21. 21
    sleepingwytch(inactive)

    Also, on the subject of being a grunt, since I was one as I referenced in the above imgur doc drop of myself, I was given the ‘privilege’ of being in an Elite Infantry Unit. Very specifically 3rd US INF The Old Guard, MOS 11Bravo (Infantryman). I also had the ‘privilege’ of listening to assholes go on and on and on all day long about how threatening “little girls” were to them (by inference), wanting to knock their teeth down their throat for saying it.

    I had the ‘privilege’ of being traumatized to high heavens by being forced onto the mental wards at Walter Reed for 4+ months cumulatively, being told I was “delusional” and “schizophrenic” for essentially being transgendered: I said I was convinced I was a woman and they told me I was fucking delusional. Four months, four months, being gaslighted and told that my “delusions” of being a woman were merely the result of my schizophrenia, no worries!!! Four months. I almost died on the way out of my infantry unit too, as my CO told the rest of the company I was a transsexual, and they then proceeded to ask me a barrage of invasive, totally inappropriate questions, and some of them made extremely threatening overtones, one of them actually threatening to kill me outright until I played along and convinced him I thought he was delusional. That same guy then murdered another transwoman years later, and I was badly shocked to see his mugshot in the news: http://www.19actionnews.com/story/22162910/olmsted-police

    The reason the FBI Task Force had to show up to get Bridges, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Terrorism_Task_Force) is because, generally speaking, Old Guard Infantry are bad motherfuckers of the highest caliber. Little known yes, but very dangerous people.

    I’m well aware of what it’s like to lose parts of myself in servce to my country, to get threatened with death and violence by people in my infantry unit simply for being trans, to be put on mental wards essentially for suffering from severe gender dysphoria, and then getting gaslighted, told I was delusional, creating extreme trauma psychologically. I’m well aware of losing my family to terrorist organizations (Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property) so I know what losing family to terrorists is like too.

    In summary, I don’t need to be grateful for anything except the fact I’m still breathing, and for that I can be grateful to the head between my shoulders and a lot of fortune Fate passed my way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>