Here in North Carolina, female soldiers are being murdered… some by their military spouses.
This past January, police were led to the burnt body of Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach at Jacksonville, NC, just outside of Camp Lejeune. Suspected of murder is her husband, Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean, who fled to Mexico when the body was found. She was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.
In early June, police in Fayetteville, NC, near Fort Bragg, found the remains of Army Specialist Megan Lynn Touma in a motel room. Megan was seven months pregnant. No one has yet been charged in her murder.
In July, Marine nurse 2nd Lieutenant Holly Wimunc’s charred body was discovered near Camp Lejeune. Her husband, Marine Cpl. John Wimunc, has been charged with 1st degree murder, and his pal, Marine Lance Corporal Kyle Alden, has been charged as an accessory.
Elsewhere, women soldiers are being killed… likely by male soldiers.
PFC LaVena Johnson, a 19-year-old soldier from Missouri, was killed in 2005 in Iraq, in curcumstances that the Army has ludicrously called suicide. It would have been left alone had it not been for a tenaciously skeptical family.
She was found with a broken nose, black eye and loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, presumably to eliminate DNA evidence of rape, a trail of blood leading away from her tent and a bullet hole in her head. Unbelievably, that’s not the most horrifying part of the story. Here’s what is: Army investigators ruled her death a suicide.
Beyond the obvious evidence of abuse, there was no sign of depression or suicidal ideation in Johnson’s psychological profile. The bullet wound was in the wrong place for her to have shot herself with her dominant hand, and the exit wound was the wrong size to have come from her own M-16, as the Army suggested it did.
There is, of course, a pattern afoot here. It’s called patriarchy; and it’s a long standing system of threatened and-or actual violence against women in order to subjugate them culturally, economically, and sexually to men. Since warfare is at one extreme end of a peace-violence continuum, it is not at all surprising that military men become more openly violent after they’ve been involved in a vicious war of occupation, where the acceptance of the death of non-combatants is a psychological necessity in order to operate. Military men are trained to be more intensely and systematically violent than their baseline male socialization; and actual warfare — especially a war for domination, as opposed to self-defense — moves men from psychological preparation into the actual practice of violence.
Young men, who spend the first 18 years of their lives as subordinate offspring and students, are suddenly placed in a situation where they have a gun, and they are obliged to order around anyone and everyone in an entire country. They generally enjoy this, because they are given godlike powers to compliment their immaturity and ignorance. Their units and comrades are ready-made support groups to help them deal with the vestigal doubts and fears that might nag at them from their putative Christian socialization that tells them things like, “turn the other cheek,” “love your enemy,” and “the meek shall inherit the earth.”
They have to dehumanize the “enemy” in order to make it okay to abuse, humiliate, maim, and kill people… and the model for this dehumanization is already there. It’s the way they’ve been trained almost from birth to deny the essential humanity of women.
So now, we have not only this pattern, but the military itself — under pressure from a recruiting and retention crisis — has dropped its entry standards, and begun to accept more and more recruits whose backgrounds show sociopathic predispositions. The war in SW Asia is giving us a freshly-minted batch of violent criminals who are just waiting, like time bombs, for the right stimulus to detonate.
We shouldn’t seem surprised when that stimulus arises from their relationships with women.
And the military wants to make this story disappear; because the military knows damn well what it is doing. For them, it’s a necessity of war; and the casualties — like these women — are collateral damage. The Pentagon actively covers up the abuse, rape, and murder of women… and I can’t figure out why this isn’t front-page news.
Here is a clip from another article on LaVena Johnson, and I’ll close here, because I have to go to work. Add what you like in the comments section.
When LaVena’s body came home, her family became suspicious of the Army’s investigation and conclusion of suicide. Her father, Dr. John Johnson was concerned about the bruising on her face, and the fact that the Army claimed his daughter had shot herself with her M-16. The exit wound in her head was too small, and appeared to be from a pistol. He wondered why the exit hole was on the left side of her head when she was right handed. White military gloves had been glued on to her hands to hide burns. That did it. Dr. Johnson and his wife began calling for an investigation into what really happened to LaVena. For the next few years they used the Freedom of Information Act and Congressional offices to request information from the Army.
After 2 years, the Johnson’s were able to get a copy of a CD that showed photographs taken of LaVena’s body at the scene, and other pictures of her naked body taken during the investigation. There were bruises, scratches, and bite marks on the upper part of her body. The right side of her back, and her right hand were burned. Her genital area was bruised and lacerated, and lye (a corrosive liquid) had been poured into her vagina, presumably to destroy DNA evidence of rape. It boggles the mind that this could be ruled “suicide.”
According to the Department of Defense, one in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped by men in the military. I doubt that statistic is hanging on the wall in recruitment offices, or even mentioned to the young women who bravely volunteer to serve their country. This statistic is double the US national numbers for rape. It is unconscionable.
Private Johnson’s death is not the only suspicious “suicide.” Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, approximately 94 military women have died there. Of those 94 women, the military says that 36 died from non-combat related injuries such as: illnesses, vehicle accidents, natural causes, or suicide. Two female sailors were shot and killed in Bahrain by a male soldier, and remarkably, their deaths were classified as a homicide. Five other deaths (including Private Johnson) were labeled suicide. There are other deaths that are suspicious. Eight women at the Camp Taji base have died of non-combat related injuries. Three were raped before they died. Two military women have died of non-combat related injuries on the Balad base. One was raped before prior to her death.
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