Iraqi Torture Photos: Mostly Women doing the TORTURING ?? Sexism !!!
Quote: "Women are no doubt as capable of sadistic brutality as men are, but the gender disproportion in prosecution -- even today, only "20,000 women are serving in Iraq, 15,000 of them in the Army," constituting roughly 15% of the US troops deployed in Iraq, the same as the proportion of women in the US military in general -- tells me that sexism makes it less likely for US military men to be prosecuted than US military women for committing war crimes and human rights violations and that the suspension of Karpinski and prosecution of the six suspects is probably designed to cover up the military's institutional responsibility by selective (and probably light) punishments of a few who are made out to be "bad apples."
Yoshie blogspot: http://montages.blogspot.com/2004_05_01_montages_archive.html#108343800049819210
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Sex, Crime, and the Military
A dear friend of mine, Steve Philion http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/ccchou/langston/, wrote me that the photographs of rapes at the bottom of Albasrah.net, below the screen captures of the photographs shown by CBS, can't be authentic. I agree with Steve, so the link to Albasrah.net in the April 30th posting is now removed. The images in question may be best viewed at the New Yorker website http://www.newyorker.com/online/covers/?040510onco_covers_gallery, which has set up an online slide show.
New Yorker also published Seymour H. Hersh's article "Torture at Abu Ghraib," http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact in which excerpts from the fifty-three-page report "written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release" that New Yorker obtained are included:
A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release, was completed in late February. Its conclusions about the institutional failures of the Army prison system were devastating. Specifically, Taguba found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" at Abu Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and also by members of the American intelligence community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th M.P. Battalion, which reported to Karpinski's brigade headquarters.) Taguba's report listed some of the wrongdoing:
Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.
There was stunning evidence to support the allegations, Taguba added —- "detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence." Photographs and videos taken by the soldiers as the abuses were happening were not included in his report, Taguba said, because of their "extremely sensitive nature." (New Yorker May 10, 2004 http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact [posted online on April 30, 2004])
The photographs shown by CBS are apparently only a few of many -- and probably the least offensive ones as well.
Hersh writes that most of the Abu Ghraib prisoners -- including women and teenagers -- are "civilians, many of whom had been picked up in random military sweeps and at highway checkpoints" ("Torture at Abu Ghraib") -- the sort of injustice that even Saddam Hussein, harsh on his political enemies, did not commit.
What is also noteworthy in the Abu Ghraib scandal is that the suspects facing prosecution are disproportionately female: "Six suspects —- Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner; Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl; Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy Sivits —- are now facing prosecution in Iraq, on charges that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts. A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after becoming pregnant" ("Torture at Abu Ghraib" http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact ). Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve brigadier general who had been commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in charge of military prisons in Iraq and was "formally admonished and quietly suspended" in January, was "the only female commander in the war zone" ("Torture at Abu Ghraib" http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact ). Women are no doubt as capable of sadistic brutality as men are, but the gender disproportion in prosecution -- even today, only "20,000 women are serving in Iraq, 15,000 of them in the Army," http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-women10apr10,1,1345489.story?coll=la-headlines-nation constituting roughly 15% of the US troops deployed in Iraq, the same as the proportion of women in the US military in general -- tells me that sexism makes it less likely for US military men to be prosecuted than US military women for committing war crimes and human rights violations and that the suspension of Karpinski and prosecution of the six suspects is probably designed to cover up the military's institutional responsibility by selective (and probably light) punishments of a few who are made out to be "bad apples."
Meanwhile, female soldiers in the US military who were raped by their fellow American soldiers have found that those who attacked them are sheltered by a band of brothers upholding male supremacy:
Thousands of women have been sexually assaulted in the United States military. Thousands more have been abused by their military husbands or boyfriends. And then they are victimized again.
This time, the women are betrayed by the military itself.
They are discouraged from reporting the crimes. Pressured to go easy on their attackers. Denied protection. Frustrated by a justice system that readily shields offenders from criminal punishment. (Amy Herdy and Miles Moffeit, "Betrayal in the Ranks," http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,0,36%7E30137%7E,00.html Denver Post, originally reported on November 16-18, 2003)
Some have suggested that the British military are more humane than the US military (Daniel McGory, "US Heavy-handedness Baffles British," http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6230427^26277,00.html April 3, 2003), but the British are hardly any better:
A hooded Iraqi captive is beaten by British soldiers before being thrown from a moving truck and left to die.
The prisoner, aged 18-20, begged for mercy as he was battered with rifle butts and batons in the head and groin, was kicked, stamped and urinated on, and had a gun barrel forced into his mouth.
After an EIGHT-HOUR ordeal, he was left barely conscious and close to death. Bleeding and vomiting and with a broken jaw and missing teeth, he was driven from a Basra camp and hurled off the truck. No one knows if he lived or died. (Paul Byrne, "Shame of Abuse by Brit Troops," http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/tm_objectid=14199634&method=full&siteid=50143&headline=shame-of-abuse-by-brit-troops-name_page.html Mirror, May 1, 2004)
Lastly, lest anyone thinks that the solution is to replace the current occupier by a United Nations peacekeeping force, let us remember that the UN peacekeepers in Somalia, for instance, were also accused of war crimes and human rights violations: e.g. CNN, "Photos Reveal Belgian Paratroopers' http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9704/17/belgium.somalia/ Abuse in Somalia," April 17, 1997. Far from an isolated instance, Somalia was merely a tip of the iceberg: Peacekeeping Watch says that "violations by peacekeepers have been documented in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Kosovo, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Somalia" ("Human Rights Violations Committed by Peacekeepers" http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/pkwatch.html).
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