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Sunday, May 08, 2005

General Malaise 


Remember all photos of those naked Arab men in pointy hats, hooked up to various electrical conductors and made to pose in pseudo-erotic architectures? It was clear from the beginning that the hand of satan, in league with the (evil) female half, was at work. What else could conjure such devilish and outwardly sexual images, force men to make men do those things to other men? While God will sort them out later, that oughtn't preclude a little earthly retribution here and now.
The Army announced that it demoted Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, whose Army Reserve unit was in charge of the prison compound during the period of abuse. Dropping her in rank to colonel required approval from President Bush...

That means Karpinski is the only general to be disciplined thus far. Some in Congress have sharply criticized the Pentagon for failing to hold the more senior officers in Iraq accountable and instead pinning most of the blame on low-ranking soldiers like Pfc. Lynndie England.

Among those cleared by the Army was Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was the top Army general in Iraq at the time of the prisoner abuses.

The Army's inspector general investigated four allegations against Karpinski: dereliction of duty, making a "material misrepresentation" to investigators, failure to obey a lawful order and shoplifting. Only the shoplifting and dereliction of duty allegations were substantiated.

She has said publicly that she was not given full authority over Abu Ghraib and that when photographs of the abuse became public she was made a scapegoat.

A U.S. government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Karpinski was accused of shoplifting a cosmetic item from a shop at a domestic Air Force base while she held the rank of colonel.

So they nailed her for pilfering lipstick, too. And, truth be told, I'd almost rather they tack an absurd little charge like that onto the docket. It's all so poetical and grotesquely humorous as it is, why not smear the stuff all over her? Ricardo Sanchez, Donnie Rumsfeld, AG Gonzales, and, yes, the Big Man Himself, G Dubs, are cut loose. In fact, the President had to sign the order to demote Karpinski, which is just adorable. For it is a man's army, and God rules man, and we all remember what God said that time about women and how we really ought to keep an eye on them.

Yes, this is the new military, that sunny meadow of Equal Opportunity and Precision Bombings. Young and old, black or white, the New Military welcomes you with open, progressive, technologically advanced arms.

In keeping with this egalitarian cheer, we get this little report.
Military criminal investigators received 1,700 reports of sexual assault in 2004 involving at least one member of the military, the Pentagon said Friday.

This includes cases in which a service member was either an alleged assailant or a victim. It is the first year the military has tracked this particular statistic, a move resulting from sexual assault scandals at the Air Force Academy and among deployed troops overseas.

But one part of this number that has been tracked in the past — the number of military members claiming they were victims of assault — showed a marked increase over previous years.

This would suggest acts of sexual assault against military personnel are on the rise. But a military spokesman instead attributed the increase to increased awareness in the military about sexual assault issues, so service members feel more comfortable coming forward to report the crime.

"We have focused our efforts trying to encourage service members to come forward," Lt. Col. Joe Richard said. "The environment has changed."

Still, Richard noted that many sexual assaults go unreported in both the military and civilian world. This suggests the actual number of assaults is higher. These assaults took place in a population of 1.5 million active-duty and mobilized National Guard and reserve personnel.

I don't know how these numbers compare to other institutions, like the university system, police forces, the Church, but it looks like a new era has certainly dawned. Taking a positive, less contusionary angle, it's a good thing that more and more soldiers are reporting these abuses. Taking the more blunt end to the nose, they got some serious problems under those tents and in those mess halls. A systematic kind of machismo that rather underpins the very structure of the military, a throbbing, relentless killing thing. Brahh. The most brutal of histories psycho-figures would tell you that an army is a place for men to wander round in. The women, if need they be there, may bend and strut in biological poses but, really, little else.

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