Part of my “red-pilling,” as the youngsters say nowadays, was when I was a 24-year-old commanding officer of a rather small combat arms unit, and the Brigade Equal Opportunity NCO walked into my office and informed me that one of the men in my unit had been sexually assaulting women after bursting into the “female latrine.” Naturally, the accused was a black man. The ensuing investigation uncovered a series of rapes by blacks against (mostly) white women who were working alongside the various alleged perpetrators.
The resulting investigations were as uncomfortable as one can imagine. Those questioned would be a group of black enlisted soldiers with a wooden, stolid look. Across from them were me and other officers and senior NCOs — all white. It was a bit like playing the “bad” character in a book like To Kill a Mockingbird or a movie like In the Heat of the Night. The airborne wings and polished boots I wore really would have added to the intensity of any “anti-racist” literature. The nature of the rapes — the specific details — were pretty ugly; I won’t go into them here. In this case, the investigation led to a number of Article 15s and one Article 32 with follow-on court martial, but the accused got off. Personally, I was then — and remain now — convinced by the evidence.
The feminists are right on one count. There is an epidemic of rape in the US military. Most of the time rape is covered-up, and any complaints via an article in the Washington Post by feminists concerned with the issue tend to get trivialized by conservatives who think that “Leftists” are trying to take down a beloved American institution. Enter Kirby Dick. His documentary film, The Invisible War (2012), exposes the issue full-on. We live in a Golden Age for documentaries, and this film stands far above the rest. The Invisible War was awarded a great number of film prizes over a span of three years.
The film follows a group of women and a few men from all the DoD Services and the US Coast Guard who had been raped while in the service. Several of the women have serious and continuing physical ailments due to their attack. Many have considered suicide. None of the victims’ attackers were brought to justice. We do get to see some foreshadowing of the 2014 Veterans Administration scandal. One rape survivor gets quite the run-around from the VA.
The movie emphasizes just how long the problem of sexual assault has been occurring. We see during a montage of women telling their stories that some of the women appear to have been old enough to have been with the original Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in the 1950s, so the problem stared the instant women were allowed to join up. Later, there are scenes of Congressional Hearings where DoD officials lay down an evasive smoke-screen to avoid accountability. Several senior DoD officials are shown in a negative light as they are asked hardball questions related to repeat offenders and “risk reduction.”
The film influenced Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to alter policy related to prosecuting rape claims. The US Army has pushed a great deal of resources into the “SHARP” program as well as training courses. It’s the “teach men not to rape” philosophy in action. The notice by high-level people and the resources poured into the problem means that this movie is a cultural force. And yet, as of now, the critical questions raised by the film are not explored.
The first question is: Should women be in the armed services at all? Naturally, this question is quite indelicate. Our latest wars Iraq and Afghanistan have had women serving in them. No doubt women are engaged against ISIS as this article goes to print. Women have been in combat — past tense. As a group, they’ve done very honorable service, and yet they are still superfluous to military operations. If you don’t want women to be raped by their fellow soldiers, don’t put them in barracks where it is so easy for them to be raped. The truth is, the temptation is always there, and there is nothing the women or the chain of command can do about it should a man decide to commit rape. The leadership can only be protecting women so many hours in the day, and military leadership must focus on a variety of things. Additionally, rape is a sub-function of the sexual aggressiveness which is a sub-function of men’s natural aggressiveness to defend their society. In such a situation, if you have the women around, then there is a constant need for resources to protect them.
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), inadvertently gets to the burden of protecting women 56 minutes into the film, although it is unlikely she is aware that she is saying so. “[T]he rhetoric [of ending rape through official DoD policy] isn’t being turned into the reality of protecting our woman, and in some cases men in our military.” Actually, the one of the purposes of the military in general is to protect the society’s women as a whole. A good way to do this is to take aggressive young men and cloister them outside of society away from vulnerable women, where their impulses can be channeled into productive things. Another factor is that each individual in the military must be able to hold his own in a fight, they must be able to protect themselves from rape. In this film, the women clearly cannot hold their own in a fight in their own barracks.
The stories of the rapes are illustrative of this. One of the few male victims in the film, Mr. Michael Matthews (USAF) was raped, but only after being struck from behind and held down by two in addition to the man who raped him. The men holding him down also struck him continually during the attack. Raping a man takes considerable effort. With the women, most of the stories are alike. It’s just one punch from a drunken comrade, and it’s all over, life ruined, and it happens by the thousands every year. If a gun or sleeping pill is used in the rape, it is just to make disrobing the victim more convenient for the perpetrator. If they can’t defend themselves in their own barracks, how can they defend us against a determined enemy?
All of the women should have been told what former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia wrote back in 1979:
Man is more naturally violent than woman. Four times as many men are involved in homicides as women. You might not pick this up in K Street law offices or in the halls of Congress, but once you enter the areas of this country where more typical Americans dwell, the areas that provide the men who make up our combat units, it becomes obvious. Inside the truck stops and in the honky-tonks, down on the street and in the coal towns, American men are tough and violent. When they are lured or drafted from their homes and put through the dehumanization of boot camp, then thrown into an operating combat unit, they don’t get any nicer, either.
In the past, prior to the feminist push for gender equality in all things, Congress, military brass, ministers, teachers, all the authorities of society, would tell young women the common-sense thing: good girls from good families should be careful around a group of soldiers. Don’t go drinking with a platoon of Marines. The temptations and dangers are just too high. In the bad old days, a chaperone was required for most mixed-sex interactions. Now, after so much progress, the best and brightest of our young women are encouraged to do exactly what earlier generations tried to prevent. The “girl power” nonsense of modern feminism is setting up thousands of young women for these tragedies.
Women in the military have done great service, but overall are they a benefit to America’s pursuit of military objectives or a drag? Did the recruiter’s promises of glamour really pan out for these women?
The problem isn’t that the institution of the US Military “keeping women out” or “discriminating” against them. The truth is the US Military will draft every possible living thing (women, gays, illegal immigrants, reptoid aliens from Planet X, etc.) to win the wars American politicians order. The human wreckage following the conflict will get to listen to muzak piped through their phone when trying to deal with the VA for months and months and months. Do we really wish to send our young women into this maw?
Every woman with a military rank or combat decoration has really earned it. They pay a terrible and unfair price for their service that goes well above what the men bear. Most women in the service unfairly suffer the social suspicion of being a “slut.” This comes up in the movie; one woman in the film is called a “walking mattress.” Military training is often called de-humanizing. I don’t think this is entirely true, but for women it is de-feminizing. Additionally, young women in the service are running the risk of wasting their child-bearing years. While it is easy for a young woman to find a sexual partner, it is far more difficult for them to find a committed husband. The military can easily distract a woman from this important life-effort. Even a peacetime Fort Irwin deployment can soak up a year of time, and years pass quickly . . . 18 . . . 19 . . . 20, 21, 22 . . . 30 . . . 50. Is this fair, just, or right?
Today, the American policy is to double down on the situation. There is a considerable push in the Senate for requiring American women to register for Selective Service. More women will mean more rape, and more need for hearings, training programs, and documentaries with sad music.
The second question: Why isn’t more done?
The movie explains part of the dilemma that commanders and those seeking justice face when dealing with the military. First, no commander wants to admit to his boss that his unit has a rape problem. One factor that he film does not mention is that military operations are infinitely complex. Indeed, soldiers must carefully decide what takes priority. Alongside investigations into rape, the Inspector General’s Office must check into maintenance records, nuclear bomb handling, HAZMAT certifications, proper training, fraud-waste-&-abuse situations, other crimes in the military’s jurisdiction, as well as many other things. As the Prussians say, for want of a horseshoe nail the Kingdom was lost. The military knows that it must need men to function. It doesn’t need women at all.
Furthermore, allegations of sexual abuse are the atom bomb of “getting even” with a professional or personal rival. Sexual abuse claims aren’t always true. Therefore, some suspicion when a rape claim is raised is the norm. Once on a job at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey I met a man who refused to go in a particular conference room. The reason for the refusal: the room was named for the first female . . . whatever. The man explained to me that he’d been an officer on some general’s staff. That general had been ruined by the first female . . . whatever after she made some sexual abuse claims against him. He felt the case was a fraud from the get-go, and the woman had used the claims to advance her career. High-ranking upper class women using wild abuse claims trickles down to working class women from rural Ohio getting cut off from justice or physical aid after being raped in their own quarters.
The final question is thus: Why continue on with an obvious lie?
Most people, conservatives in particular, have the illusion that the military is a force that is expected to work at peak efficiency with “a job to do.” This is only partially true. The military is also an instrument of domestic policy. In the American Imperial Polity, the military is the last institution which most people hold in any sort of esteem. The military is an instrument of national unity. To emphasize this, imagine for a second how the white citizens of Nebraska feel about the United States Marines vs. the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
To help keep domestic unity, the military must become increasingly inclusive, even when such inclusivity is counterproductive to “efficiency” or “doing the job.” When conservatives complain that the military is the first place liberals go for social engineering they fail to realize that the military is often the only place where their social engineering experiments have a chance of working, due to the military’s intense, though semi-dishonest Mission Accomplished! culture.
It is important to understand that every officer, NCO, and soldier in the military gains medals, promotions, and high evaluations by accomplishing the mission of their commander. In one instance, this author collected up an ad hoc group of soldiers on a Friday evening to go and shoot up some ammunition to make the battalion’s training ammunition-used quota. There was no higher purpose than to shoot lead away, so the men used machine guns to saw the target silhouettes in half. The mission was absurd, yet nobody complained. While this is war story that could fit into a screenplay in the sitcom about the 4077th M*A*S*H, the semi-dishonest Mission Accomplished! culture can have far more serious outcomes.
As the commander of the 101st Airborne Division, William Westmoreland instituted a maintenance policy which cut the “tooth to tail” radio of fighting men to support men. Any maintenance chief that couldn’t keep up with the work load was to be reclassified as a rifleman. It appeared to work, but after Westmoreland left, the next division commander had to pour resources into fixing the division’s equipment. The maintenance men had simply pencil-whipped the records. It is not a far stretch to see in Westmoreland’s 1950s, flim-flam Space Age management technique the same flim-flam management ideas that cropped up in the Vietnam War, such as body counts, the Five O’clock Follies, downplaying the role of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the early months of the war, and covering for the inept South Vietnamese Military.
Today, the semi-dishonest Mission Accomplished! culture is programmed to make sure women excel or are made to appear to excel. When women were sent to Ranger school it was foreordained that they would make it through. When the US Navy decided to make women fighter pilots, a woman was hand-waived through training, and she was killed in a crash. A nasty scandal followed.
The truth of the matter is that military service, the badges, the medals, and the uniforms are an empty honor compared to home and family. How many families never got formed because poorly-trained mom died in an accident or never expanded past one child because she was stressed out from rape?
The Invisible War has made no real impact on our culture. The same illusions are peddled; the same lies shouted as slogans of virtue; but no ideology lasts forever. Indeed, when ideas appear to be the most strong usually the foundations upon which they rest have already started to shift. In the very near future, Americans may need to consider a different set of institutions as an instrument of national unity than the military.
2. Jim Webb, “Women Can’t Fight,” Washingtonian, November 1, 1979 https://www.washingtonian.com/1979/11/01/jim-webb-women-cant-fight/