Before rape will be taken seriously and in a new context, as a crime against women that reflects a system of gendered power, there must be a mass movement against rape, and it must be understood in ways that transcend its definition in liberal law. Moreover, the mass movement against rape must be part of a movement that identifies all violence against women-as-women not as a technically determined legal aberration but as a means of enforcing the social power of men over women. And before rape will become an issue that receives the kind of command emphasis it needs in the military voluntarily, this mass movement must create the conditions that will make that inevitable.
The United States armed services take the self-same masculinity-defined-as-sexual-aggression that the liberal state reflects (but can not openly acknowledge without blowing its cover as â€˜objectiveâ€™) and actually institutionalizes it. It polishes that masculinity up and smoothes over its ugliest parts â€“ in much the same way film and other ideological media do â€“ but the military is actually defined by its potential for and willingness to employ violent aggression. In a typically bureaucratic turn-of-phrase, we taught cadets at West Point that they were training to become â€œmanagers of violence.â€
On February 28, 2004, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti had US Marines enter his home as his American contract personal security detail stepped aside. The person in command of the Marines presented Aristide with a letter of resignation and the information that paramilitaries intent on killing him and his family were en route. He was informed that if he signed the letter of resignation, he and his family would be flown to safety. If he refused, he and his family would be left to the tender mercies of the paramilitaries, and his security detail would be commanded by the US Embassy to step aside. He signed the resignation, and Colin Powell said the next day that his signature was voluntary.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice is a Congressionally-generated code of criminal law applicable to all members of the United States armed services, adopted in 1951. The U.S. Constitution itself gives Constitutional exceptions to the military that are embodied in this military law. Those under UCMJ jurisdiction are not entitled to hearings before a grand jury, for example. And many imprisonable violations under the UCMJ do not exist in the civilian world, like leaving your job without permission, lying to your boss, or saying certain things about your job or your employer in public. It also has some very elastic violations that would not withstand the kind of scrutiny a good civilian lawyer would challenge in a non-military courtroom â€“ like â€œconduct unbecoming an officer,â€ actions â€œprejudicial to good order and discipline,â€ and conduct that â€œbrings discredit upon the armed forces.â€ That last one was actually created during World War I to prosecute service members for unpaid debts, but is now applied more generally albeit selectively. These elastic clauses give military commanders an immensely powerful tool for control over subordinates, because these offenses can be pretty much applied to any human being who is not a candidate for canonization, if oneâ€™s life is placed under close enough scrutiny.
â€œIf the occurrence of rape were audible, its decibel level equal to its frequency, it would overpower our days and nights, interrupt our meals, our bedtime stories, howl behind our love-making, an insistent jackhammer of distress. We would demand an end to it. And if we failed to locate its source, we would condemn the whole structure. We would refuse to live under such conditions.â€
-Patricia Weaver Francisco
Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery
As some of you know, I pay a few bills by writing proprietary pieces for both From The Wilderness and Sanders Research Associates. These are paid sites, so I can’t immediately republish what I send them. But I am letting anyone who is interested know that they can subscribe, or check with someone who does.
The two latest are (1) “The Global Battlefield for FTW and (2) Phallic Judo for SRA. Below are two front-end excerpts.
Larry Flynt’s corporate-pimp speech is spoken with a
patriarchal accent, somehow through a vagina.
Exactly how is it that a woman’s open vulva
became his mouthpiece?
American Special Operations forces, in an audacious operation near Mosul, have captured another key lieutenant of Iraq’s al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, General John Abazaid said on Wednesday.
Interview with Dr. Mohammad al-Obaidi of Iraq’s Peoples’ Struggle Movement
By LAITH al-SAUD
“We have no quarrel with any union or individual, unless they question our
right to be in the room.” – William Lucy, President, Coalition of Black Trade