Friday, Jul 03rd, 2020 - 05:41:10


Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War (2017)

'Rape has accompanied wars of religion: knights and pilgrims took time off for sexual assault as they marched toward Constantinople in the First Crusade. Rape has accompanied wars of revolution: George Washington's papers for July 22, 1780, record that one Thomas Brown of the Seventh Pennsylvania Regiment was sentenced to death for rape at Paramus, and it was Brown's second conviction at that. Rape in warfare is not bound by definitions of which wars are "just" or "unjust." Rape was a weapon of terror as the German Hun marched through Belgium in World War I. Rape was a weapon of revenge as the Russian Army marched to Berlin in World War II. Rape flourishes in warfare irrespective of nationality or geographic location. Rape got out of hand—"regrettably," as the foreign minister was later to say, when the Pakistani Army battled Bangladesh. Rape reared its head as a way to relieve boredom as American GI's searched and destroyed in the highlands of Vietnam.

In modern times, rape is outlawed as a criminal act under the international rules of war. Rape is punishable by death or imprisonment under Article 120 of the American Uniform Code of Military Justice. Yet rape persists as a common act of war. It has been argued that when killing is viewed as not only permissible but heroic behavior sanctioned by one's government or cause, the distinction between taking a human life and other forms of impermissible violence gets lost, and rape becomes an unfortunate but inevitable by-product of the necessary game called war. Women, by this reasoning, are simply regrettable victims, incidental, unavoidable casualties—like civilian victims of bombing, lumped together with children, homes, personal belongings, a church, a dike, a water buffalo or next year's crop. But rape in war is qualitatively different from a bomb that misses its military target, different from impersonal looting and burning, different from deliberate ambush, mass murder or torture during interrogation, although it contains elements of all of the above. Rape is more than a symptom of war or evidence of its violent excess. Rape in war is a familiar act with a familiar excuse.

War provides men with the perfect psychologic backdrop to give vent to their contempt for women. The very maleness of the military—the brute power of weaponry exclusive to their hands, the spiritual bonding of men at arms, the manly discipline of orders given and orders obeyed, the simple logic of the hierarchical command confirms for men what they long suspect, that women are peripheral, irrelevant to the world that counts, passive spectators to the action in the center ring. Men who rape in war are ordinary Joes, made unordinary by entry into the most exclusive male-only club in the world. Victory in arms brings group power undreamed of in civilian life. Power for men alone. The unreal situation of a world without women becomes the prime reality. To take a life looms more significant than to make a life, and the gun in the hand is power. The sickness of warfare feeds on itself. A certain number of soldiers must prove their newly won superiority—prove it to a woman, to themselves, to other men. In the name of victory and the power of the gun, war provides men with a tacit license to rape. In the act and in the excuse, rape in war reveals the male psyche in in its boldest form, without the veneer of "chivalry" or civilization...

When a victorious army rapes, the sheer intoxication of the triumph is only part of the act. After the fact, the rape may be viewed as part of a recognizable pattern of national terror and subjugation. I say "after the fact" because the original impulse to rape does not need a sophisticated political motivation beyond a general disregard for the bodily integrity of women. But rape in warfare has a military effect as well as an impulse. And the effect is indubitably one of intimidation and demoralization for the victims' side. An aggressor nation rarely admits to rape. Documentation of rape in warfare is something the other side totals up, analyzes and propagandizes when the smoke has cleared after defeat.

Men of a conquered nation traditionally view the rape of "their women" as the ultimate humiliation, a sexual coup de grace. Rape is considered by the people of a defeated nation to be part of the enemy's conscious effort to destroy them. In fact, by tradition, men appropriate the rape of "their women" as part of their own male anguish of defeat. This egocentric view does have a partial validity. Apart from a genuine, human concern for wives and daughters near and dear to them, rape by a conqueror is compelling evidence of the conquered's status of masculine impotence. Defense of women has long been a hallmark of masculine pride, as possession of women has been a hallmark of masculine success. Rape by a conquering soldier destroys all remaining illusions of power and property for men of the defeated side. The body of a raped woman becomes a ceremonial battlefield, a parade ground for the victor's trooping of the colors. The act that is played out upon her is a message passed between men—vivid proof of victory for one and loss and defeat for the other.

In April, 1746, King George's army led by the Duke of Cumberland put down an insurrection in the Scottish Highlands. The Highland clans that rallied to the banner of Bonnie Prince Charlie were thoroughly decimated in the Battle of Culloden. That battle, and the brutal pacification program that followed, marked the end of organized clan life in Scotland. The modern British historian John Prebble collected the story of Culloden and its aftermath from records kept by the proud old clans. In the clansmen's view, rape of their women was a deliberate act of tyranny by the English invader, and Prebble wrote the story as he found it. Sexual mutilation of women on Culloden Moor during the battle proper was only the beginning. Lord George Sackville led a command of infantrymen to Moidart, where Clan Macdonald rebels "showed no enthusiasm for surrendering." A few screaming clansmen raided the rear of his column and captured some horses and provisions. Sackville "allowed his men to take revenge at the next hamlet, where the women were first raped and then held to watch the shooting and bayonetting of their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons..."

An act of rape in war that a husband or father is forced to watch is quite common. Sometimes it is simply a matter of proximity, as when Isobel Macdonald's husband skulked in the heather, but more often it is part of the plan, as in the house of Evan Moor Maclsaacs. Rape of a woman in war may be as much an act against her husband or father, for the rapist, as it is an act against the woman's body. The attitude of husbands after a rape is equally interesting. The ravished women of Inverwick did not sleep with their husbands for nine months after their assault. Although it appears from the Laird of Glenmoriston that this was a pact that the husbands agreed to, the more common experience is for the husbands to turn from their raped wives in revulsion—as witness the recent mass rejection of the raped women of Bangladesh. In war as in peace, the husbands of raped women place a major burden of blame for the awful event on their wives. The hallowed rights of property have been abused, and the property herself is held culpable.

A casual reader of history quickly learns that rape remains unmentionable, even in war. Serious historians have rarely bothered to document specific acts of rape in warfare, for reasons of their own scale of values and taste, as well as for lack of hard-and-fast surviving proof. Thus the story of Culloden is exceptional for its wealth of detail. Systematic rape of Highland women by English forces during the occupation of Scotland fitted perfectly into a bold pattern of national subjugation. It also fitted logically into a retrospective analysis of the ultimate destruction of the proud and tightly knit hierarchical clans. Perhaps for these reasons the Highland lairds of Scotland understood, as few have, the military importance of rape, and kept their painful records. Not until World War I was documentation of rape in warfare ever again preserved so faithfully.''

+ Susan Brownmiller - "Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape" (1975/1993):


Susan Brownmiller

'Against Our Will was published in the middle of a feminist decade of theory and action when women overturned many hidebound assumptions about our ordained place in the social order. I’d like to salute all the positive changes that can be traced to those years, but this is a preface to my treatise on rape so I’ll stay on message. A universal truth about movements for social change is that from a relatively secure vantage point later on, people wonder what the fuss was about, or how it began. I will tell you in one sentence. In the 1970s, unprecedented strategies against rape—speak-outs, crisis centers, twenty-four-hour hotlines, state-by-state campaigns to amend unfair criminal codes—erupted across this country and spread through the Western world. Look at current international news stories about gang rapes in a public square and routine rape in war to see how male violence can operate without check. No, it was not that bad here in the 1970s, but I do observe that we seem to be fighting some of our old battles again.

The absolute brilliance and sine qua non of the American anti-rape movement was its focus on the victim’s perspective—a fresh idea in its day, unbelievable as that may sound. Public attitudes about rape and child molestation had been shaped entirely by men—in psychoanalytic theories, in police investigations and courts of law, in popular novels and films, on television talk shows, in nightclub comedy routines, in dirty jokes and smarmy wisecracks, and in grandiose pronouncements that were put forward as scientific facts. Does that sound familiar to readers of present-day news?

Women had never dared to talk openly about a crime against their physical integrity that often was met with disbelief and which carried a heavy load of shame. Rape was something that women were afraid to mention. Big surprise— unmentionable subjects, for women, were all about the autonomy of women’s bodies. Using the process of consciousness-raising that a few years earlier had helped bring abortion rights to the forefront, feminists started to grapple with sexual assault by speaking from their own experience. As an organizer of two public events in 1971, the New York Radical Feminist Speak-Out on Rape, followed by a weekend conference on rape, I was both stunned and exhilarated by what I learned. A woman’s account of what she had gone through was diametrically at odds with the era’s common narratives of eager consent and false accusation. My takeaway was that rape was a deliberate act of power, dominance, and humiliation committed by men with no moral compass —and that most victims feared their attackers were going to kill them.

Four years later Against Our Will reached the bookstores. One of the tasks I had set for myself was to uncover the patterns and dimensions of rape in history that were buried in library archives. If you imagine that my research consisted of looking up rape in library catalogs, you are mistaken. I would have if I could have. Library catalogs of the era—sturdy oak drawers of well-thumbed three-by-five index cards—had almost no entries for rape. But librarians knew the materials in their special collections, and they knew the arcane subcategories in the Dewey Decimal System where historical accounts of rape might be found. I am extremely proud of one very long chapter titled “War,” which was prompted by a few news accounts of mass rape in Vietnam and Bangladesh. It occurred to me to collect as much historic evidence as I could about routine and pervasive rape in warfare. The good news is that humanitarian organizations and international courts now recognize and condemn rape as a common tool of warfare. The bad news, obviously, is that men continue to rape in war.'

+ Susan Brownmiller - "Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape" (1975/1993):


+ The Hangover 2 - Official Trailer (THE CLINTON UNCUT VERSION) [2011, hd]:
+ #bANGKOK #WJClinton #Vegas #AsshatClown

'House of Dolls is a 1953 novella by Ka-tzetnik 135633. The novella describes "Joy Divisions", which were groups of Jewish women in the concentration camps during World War II who were kept for the sexual pleasure of Nazi soldiers. Between 1942 and 1945, Auschwitz and nine other Nazi concentration camps contained camp brothels (Freudenabteilung "Joy Division"), mainly used to reward cooperative non-Jewish inmates. Not only prostitutes were forced to work there. In the documentary film Memory of the Camps, a project supervised by the British Ministry of Information and the American Office of War Information during the summer of 1945, camera crews filmed women who had been forced into sexual slavery for the use of guards and favoured prisoners. The film-makers stated that as the women died they were replaced by women from the concentration camp Ravensbrück.'

+ 'House of Dolls' - Ka-tzetnik 135633 (1953):

'Forced prostitution is illegal under customary law in all countries. This is different from voluntary prostitution which may have a different legal status in different countries, which range from being fully illegal and punishable by death to being legal and regulated as an occupation. While the legality of adult prostitution varies between jurisdictions, the prostitution of children is illegal nearly everywhere in the world. In 1949, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. This Convention supersedes a number of earlier conventions that covered some aspects of forced prostitution, and also deals with other aspects of prostitution. It penalises the procurement and enticement to prostitution as well as the maintenance of brothels. As at December 2013, the Convention has only been ratified by 82 countries. One of the main reasons it has not been ratified by many countries is because it 'voluntary' is broadly defined in countries with a legal sex industry. For example, in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, and other countries some forms of prostitution and pimping are legal and regulated as professional occupations. Child prostitution is considered inherently non-consensual and exploitative, as children, because of their age, are not legally able to consent. In most countries child prostitution is illegal irrespective of the child reaching a lower statutory age of consent. State parties to the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography are required to prohibit child prostitution. The Protocol defines a child as any human being under the age of 18, "unless an earlier age of majority is recognized by a country's law". The Protocol entered into force on 18 January 2002, and as of December 2013, 166 states are party to the Protocol and another 10 states have signed but not yet ratified it. The Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (Convention No 104) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) provides that the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution is one of the worst forms of child labor. This convention, adopted in 1999, provides that countries that had ratified it must eliminate the practice urgently. It enjoys the fastest pace of ratifications in the ILO's history since 1919. In the United States, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 classifies any "commercial sex act [which] is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age" to be a "Severe Form of Trafficking in Persons". In many countries, especially poorer countries, child prostitution remains a very serious problem, and numerous tourists from the Western World travel to these countries to engage in child sex tourism. Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil and Mexico have been identified as leading hotspots of child sexual exploitation. In its understanding of the distinction between sex work and forced prostitution, the Open Society Foundations organization states: "sex work is done by consenting adults, where the act of selling or buying sexual services is not a violation of human rights".'

+ Slavery & Prostitution - International Legislation (2019):

+ Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949):

'For the proponents of the abolitionist view, prostitution is always a coercive practice, and the prostitute is seen as a victim. They argue that most prostitutes are forced into the practice, either directly, by pimps and traffickers, indirectly through poverty, drug addiction and other personal problems, or, as it has been argued in recent decades by radical feminists such as Andrea Dworkin, Melissa Farley and Catharine MacKinnon, merely by patriarchal social structures and power relations between men and women. William D. Angel finds that "most" prostitutes have been forced into the occupation through poverty, lack of education and employment possibilities. Kathleen Barry argues that there should be no distinction between "free" and "coerced", "voluntary" and "involuntary" prostitution, "since any form of prostitution is a human rights violation, an affront to womanhood that cannot be considered dignified labour". France's Green Party argues: "The concept of "free choice" of the prostitute is indeed relative, in a society where gender inequality is institutionalized". The proponents of the abolitionist view hold that prostitution is a practice which ultimately leads to the mental, emotional and physical destruction of the women who engage in it, and, as such, it should be abolished. As a result of such views on prostitution, Sweden, Norway and Iceland have enacted laws which criminalize the clients of the prostitutes, but not the prostitutes themselves.'

+ Abolitionism, Regulation, & Prohibitionism: Voluntary vs. Involuntary Prostitution (2019):


'The Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals became the first international courts of real significance. The victorious Allied powers established them in 1945 and 1946 respectively to prosecute the major war criminals of the European Axis powers (in fact only Germans) and of Japan for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The possibility of prosecuting sexual violence as a war crime was present because of the recognition of war rape as serious violation of the laws of war in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 assertion that "[f]amily honour and rights [and] the lives of persons...must be respected." While the Nuremberg Tribunals failed to charge Nazi war criminals with rape, witnesses testified about it occurring. Previous war crimes trials had prosecuted for sex crimes, hence war rape could have been prosecuted under customary law and/or under the IMT (International Military Tribunals) Charter's Article 6(b): "abduction of the civilian population....into slavery and for other purposes" and "abduction unjustified by military necessity." Similarly, it would have been possible to prosecute war rape as crime against humanity under Article 6(c) of the Nuremberg Charter: "other inhumane acts" and "enslavement". However, notwithstanding evidence of sexual violence in Europe during World War II, a lack of will led to rape and sexual violence not being prosecuted at the Nuremberg Tribunals.'

+ JOY DiViSiON ~ "No Love Lost" (1988):

'The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on 2 December 1949 and entered into force on 25 July 1951. The preamble states:

"Whereas prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community."

As at December 2013, 82 states were party to the convention. An additional 13 states had signed the convention, but had not yet ratified it. The Convention supersedes a number of earlier conventions that covered some aspects of forced prostitution. Signatories are charged with three obligations under the 1949 Convention: prohibition of trafficking, specific administrative and enforcement measures, and social measures aimed at trafficked persons. The 1949 Convention presents two shifts in perspective of the trafficking problem in that it views prostitutes as victims of the procurers, and in that it eschews the terms "white slave traffic" and "women", using for the first time race- and gender-neutral language. To fall under the provisions of the 1949 Convention, the trafficking need not cross international lines. The Convention requires state parties to punish any person who "procures, entices, or leads away, for purposes of prostitution, another person, even with the consent of that person", "exploits the prostitution of another person, even with the consent of that person" (Article 1), or runs a brothel or rents accommodations for prostitution purposes (Article 2). It also prescribes procedures for combating international traffic for the purpose of prostitution, including extradition of offenders. Furthermore, state parties are required to abolish all regulations that subject prostitutes "to special registration or to the possession of a special document or to any exceptional requirements for supervision or notification" (Article 6). And also, they are required to take the necessary measure for the supervision of employment agencies in order to prevent persons seeking employment, in particular women and children, from being exposed to the danger of prostitution (Article 20). A dispute between the parties relating to the interpretation or application of the Convention may, at the request of any one of the parties to the dispute, be referred to the International Court of Justice (Article 22).'

+ Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949):

'The Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography is a protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and requires parties to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Protocol was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 and entered into force on 18 January 2002. As of December 2019, 176 states are party to the protocol. According to the preamble, the protocol is intended to achieve the purposes of certain articles in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, where the rights are defined with the provision that parties should take "appropriate measures" to protect them. Article 1 of the protocol requires parties to protect the rights and interests of child victims of trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography, child labour and especially the worst forms of child labour. The remaining articles in the protocol outline the standards for international law enforcement covering diverse issues such as jurisdictional factors, extradition, mutual assistance in investigations, criminal or extradition proceedings and seizure and confiscation of assets as well. It also obliges parties to pass laws within their own territories against these practices "punishable by appropriate penalties that take into account their grave nature."'

+ Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2000):



'In December 2012, protests broke out across India after news of a horrific gang rape exploded into global view. The crime—the gang rape of 23-year-old physiotherapy student, Jyoti Singh, committed by six men on a bus in the capital territory of Delhi—was so brutal that it shocked the world and jolted the Indian legal system into reconsidering its protections for women. The attack took place on the evening of December 16, 2012 in southwest Delhi’s Munirka, a concrete urban village crowded with students. Singh and a male friend, Awindra Pandey saw Life of Pi —a movie about a young Indian boy who struggles to survive against incredible odds—before hopping a bus. Once they boarded the bus, six men shut off the lights and locked the doors before beating Singh and Pandey with iron rod. All of the perpetrators had been drinking before the assault, police say, and had robbed a carpenter on the same private bus earlier in the day. After brutally raping and torturing Singh on the moving bus, including with the iron rod, the perpetrators threw her and Pandey out of the vehicle. Both victims were bleeding and stripped of their clothing and other valuables. Thirteen days later, Singh—who famously became known as “Nirbhaya” (meaning “fearless”) due to sex-assault-victim privacy laws in India—died from related injuries at a Singapore hospital. In the wake of her death, Asha Devi, the victim’s mother, said she wanted her daughter’s name made public because she was “not ashamed to name her” and that victims and families of violent crimes shouldn’t be made to “hang their heads in shame.” Ultimately, the national uproar sparked by the crime led to the passage of several amendments to India’s existing laws on sexual offenses, though some activists say there’s still more to be done to protect women from assault.'

+ Why Did the 'Nirbhaya' Delhi Gang Rape Case Stun the World? (2012):


Hidden Horrors

'This landmark book documents little-known wartime Japanese atrocities during World War II. Yuki Tanaka’s case studies, still remarkably original and significant, include cannibalism; the slaughter and starvation of prisoners of war; the rape, enforced prostitution, and murder of noncombatants; and biological warfare experiments. The author describes how desperate Japanese soldiers consumed the flesh of their own comrades killed in fighting as well as that of Australians, Pakistanis, and Indians. He traces the fate of sixty-five shipwrecked Australian nurses and British soldiers who were shot or stabbed to death by their captors. Another thirty-two nurses were captured and sent to Sumatra to become “comfort women”—sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. Tanaka recounts how thousands of Australian and British POWs were massacred in the infamous Sandakan camp in the Borneo jungle in 1945, while those who survived were forced to endure a tortuous 160-mile march on which anyone who dropped out of line was immediately shot. This new edition also includes a powerful chapter on the island of Nauru, where thirty-nine leprosy patients were killed and thousands of Naurans were ill-treated and forced to leave their homes. Without denying individual and national responsibility, the author explores individual atrocities in their broader social, psychological, and institutional milieu and places Japanese behavior during the war in the broader context of the dehumanization of men at war. In his substantially revised conclusion, Tanaka brings in significant new interpretations to explain why Japanese imperial forces were so brutal, tracing the historical processes that created such a unique military structure and ideology. Finally, he investigates why a strong awareness of their collective responsibility for wartime atrocities has been and still is lacking among the Japanese.'

+ "Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II" - Yuki Tanaka (2017):

'The Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum, which defines the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, recognizes rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization, "or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity" as crime against humanity if the action is part of a widespread or systematic practice. Sexual slavery was first recognized as a crime against humanity when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia issued arrest warrants based on the Geneva Conventions and Violations of the Laws or Customs of War. Specifically, it was recognised that Muslim women in Foča (southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) were subjected to systematic and widespread gang rape, torture and sexual enslavement by Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen, and members of paramilitary groups after the takeover of the city in April 1992. The indictment was of major legal significance and was the first time that sexual assaults were investigated for the purpose of prosecution under the rubric of torture and enslavement as a crime against humanity. The indictment was confirmed by a 2001 verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia that rape and sexual enslavement are crimes against humanity. This ruling challenged the widespread acceptance of rape and sexual enslavement of women as an intrinsic part of war. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found three Bosnian Serb men guilty of rape of Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) women and girls – some as young as 12 and 15 years of age – in Foča, eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The charges were brought as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Furthermore, two of the men were found guilty of the crime against humanity of sexual enslavement for holding women and girls captive in a number of de facto detention centers. Many of the women had subsequently disappeared.'

+ The Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum & the International Criminal Court (2019):

'Mictlāntēuctli (Nahuatl: "Lord of Mictlan") was the God of the Dead in Aztec mythology and the King of Mictlan (Chicunauhmictlan), the lowest and northernmost section of the Underworld. He was one of the principal gods of the Aztecs and was the most prominent of several gods and goddesses of Death and the Underworld. Mictlāntēuctli was 6 feet tall and was depicted as a blood-spattered skeleton or a person wearing a toothy skull. Although his head was typically a skull, his eye sockets did contain eyeballs. His headdress was shown decorated with owl feathers and paper banners and he wore a necklace of human eyeballs, while his earspools were made from human bones. He was often depicted wearing sandals as a symbol of his high rank as Lord of Mictlan. His arms were frequently depicted raised in an aggressive gesture, showing that he was ready to tear apart the dead as they entered his presence.'

'In the Aztec codices Mictlāntēuctli is often depicted with his skeletal jaw open to receive the stars that descend into him during the daytime. His wife was Mictecacihuatl, and together they were said to dwell in a windowless house in Mictlan. Mictlāntēuctli was associated with spiders, owls, bats, the eleventh hour and the northern compass direction, known as Mictlampa, the Legions of Death. When a person died, they were interred with grave goods, which they carried with them on the long and dangerous journey to the underworld. Upon arrival in Mictlan these goods were offered to Mictlāntēuctli and his wife.'

+ Mictlāntēuctli:
+ Wartime Sexual Violence:



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'The Battle of Okinawa (Japanese: 沖縄戦) codenamed Operation Iceberg, was a major battle of the Pacific War fought on the island of Okinawa by United States Marine and Army forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. The initial invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The 82-day battle lasted from April 1 until June 22, 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were planning to use Kadena Air Base on the large island of Okinawa as a base for Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, 340 mi (550 km) away. The battle has been referred to as the "typhoon of steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or tetsu no bōfū ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks, and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with approximately 160,000 casualties on both sides: at least 75,000 Allied and 84,166–117,000 Japanese, including drafted Okinawans wearing Japanese uniforms. 149,425 Okinawans were killed, committed suicide or went missing, a significant proportion of the estimated pre-war 300,000 local population.'

+ The Battle of Okinawa - (April 1 – June 22, 1945):

'The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), once known as the Royal Regiment of Foot, was the oldest and most senior infantry regiment of the line of the British Army, having been raised in 1633 during the reign of Charles I of Scotland. The regiment existed continuously until 2006, when it amalgamated with the King's Own Scottish Borderers to become the Royal Scots Borderers, which merged with the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment), the Black Watch, the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The 1st Battalion had returned to the West Indies as a garrison in 1790, and served there until 1797, with a brief period of combat in the Haitian Revolution. The West Indies were hotbeds of disease, and the battalion lost more than half its strength to disease in this period. It was reformed from militia volunteers in Ireland in 1798: This year saw a major rebellion erupt in Ireland after years of simmering tension. The Lothian Fencibles fought with distinction at the Battle of Vinegar Hill, one of the more important engagements of the rebellion. Subsequently, the regiment gained a new regimental song:

Ye croppies of Wexford, I'd have ye be wise
and go not to meddle with Mid-Lothian Boys
For the Mid-Lothian Boys they vow and declare
They'll crop off your head as well as your hair
derry, down, down.
Remember at Ross and at Vinegar Hill
How your heads flew about like chaff in a mill
For the Mid-Lothian Boys when a croppy they see
they blow out his daylights and tip him cut three
derry, down, down.


After the rebellion was over in Ireland they were used in minor raids on the coast of Spain in 1800. Meanwhile, from 1793 to 1801, the 2nd Battalion was based in the Mediterranean. It fought at the Siege of Toulon (1793) and the capture of Corsica (1794), returning briefly to Northern Europe for the Battle of Egmont op Zee in the 1799 Helder Campaign, before fighting in the 1801 Egyptian campaign at the Battle of Aboukir and the Battle of Alexandria.'


Tower of London: "Blood Swept Lands & Seas of Red" - 'Exactly 888,246 "GOoD Mourning-™"#Nazi red poppies...' (2014):

'At the outbreak of the Second World War on 3 September 1939, the 1st Battalion, Royal Scots was at Aldershot as part of 4th Infantry Brigade, alongside the 1st Border Regiment and 2nd Royal Norfolk Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division; accordingly, it deployed to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). It moved to Lecelles in September, and in May 1940 moved into Belgium during the Battle of France. The BEF were heavily hit by the German Army's breakthrough, however, and fell back towards the coast; the battalion was deployed at Le Paradis, near Béthune, on 25 May to protect the flanks of the Dunkirk evacuation. After being heavily hit by armoured attacks, the battalion ceased fighting on the afternoon of 27 May. The adjacent unit, the 2nd Battalion, Royal Norfolks, had almost one hundred men taken prisoner and later shot by their captors in the "Le Paradis massacre". Recent research has suggested that around twenty Royal Scots may have suffered a similar fate. The remnants of the battalion were reconstituted in Bradford in June. After Dunkirk, the battalion spent nearly two years on home defence preparing for, what many thought, would be a German invasion of the United Kingdom. The invasion never took place, due mainly to the Battle of Britain.The 1st Royal Scots, along with the rest of the 2nd Division, was sent to British India in April 1942 to train for jungle warfare.'

+ The Royal Scots (1633-2006):

'Concentration-camp rape and institutionalized camp brothels in which women were held against their will for the pleasure of the soldiery were a most sinister aspect of the abuse of women in World War II, since acceptance of continuous rape without protest was held out as a possible chance for survival. According to a document in the Vatican archives, as early as March, 1942, the papal envoy in Bratislava, Archbishop Giuseppe Burzio, informed Pope Pius XII that the Nazis were taking young Jewish women from their families to make them prostitutes for German soldiers on the eastern front and were preparing for the total deportation of all other Jews. House of Dolls, the nightmare novel by Ka-Tzetnik, describes a day's routine in a nameless forcible brothel in which Jewish females under threat of death prepared their cots for the precise arrival at 2 P.M. of the German soldiers. The daily routine was bitterly called Enjoyment Duty and the soldiers, when finished, were expected to file reports on the performance of their Dolls. Three negative reports meant death. Ka-Tzetnik 135633 was the Auschwitz camp number of the pseudonymous author, and despite his use of the novel form—some things are still too horrible for nonfiction—there is not much reason to doubt that the House of Dolls existed.

How much rape did American soldiers commit in World War II? Certainly they did not share the unenviable reputation of the Germans, the Russians or the Moroccans. American GIs viewed themselves, and were viewed by the local populace, as liberators in much of the European territory they fought for and occupied. In the time-honored tradition of the conquering hero, liberators are often presented with the bodies of women, from a female sense of "just reward" or adventure, but more realistically and more typically, out of urgent economic need. Writing of the desperate conditions that existed in Rome after the Italian capitulation, a pair of historians said succinctly, "Italian women would perform any service for a can of food." "You should have seen the streams of women," an old woman from Palermo told the sociologist Danilo Dolci. "Business boomed when the Yanks—the whites and the blacks—were here... The American troops set up their camps in the parks. Husbands brought their wives to them, and took the money. As soon as one man came out, another went in; they waited in line. Ol rait. God foe. Uon dollar. The park keepers provided the mattresses so that the Yanks would be comfortable." Free enterprise, the murky line that divides wartime rape from wartime prostitution, cannot be cleanly delineated. When the SS policemen told the Jewish girl that they would "get her next time and pay her five zlotys," they were trying to turn an act of rape into an act of whoring in which the victim shared responsibility.

Similarly, when the Japanese commander told his men in the field that to avoid any problems of rape, "either pay them money or kill them," he was utilizing the same principle. German and Japanese military brothels, into which conquered women were forcibly placed, were considered examples of Axis war crimes at the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, but the American military never rounded up women for purposes of prostitution during World War II, as far as I know. The lure of the dollar to starving women in wartorn, liberated countries was coercion enough. But the difference between prostitution and rape in war is real, for there are always those men who choose, or prefer, to rape. "Rape has nothing to do with the availability of willing women or prostitutes," a member of the U.S. Army Court of Military Review told me in Washington. "Wherever there are soldiers, there are prostitutes in a war." "Then what makes men rape in war?" I asked rhetorically. "I don't know," he answered. My reluctant conversation partner was a retired colonel who preferred that I not use his name.'

+ Susan Brownmiller - "Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape" (1975/1993):


'Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".'

+ Edinburgh Castle:

'Not all Russian soldiers were rapists, and individual instances of kindness toward women are sprinkled throughout the German accounts of Red Army atrocity. But there is no point, it seems to me, in trying to pin the blame for the Soviet troops' behavior on an Ehrenburg leaflet, a Stalin attitude of "boys will be boys" or, laughably, on certain national characteristics. In war or peace men do not need orders or permission or a particular national heritage to commit an act of rape. Soviet rape was especially ironic because the Russians themselves had made so much of the New Soviet Man— who in war turned out to be the old, familiar man. The misuse of ideology was not that the political commissars consciously traded off women's bodies against a worse destruction by their embittered men, but that whatever socialist ideology the Red Army men were exposed to in their indoctrination, sexual oppression of women was evidently not part of the course. The hard political truth is that the Red Army behaved no differently from any conquering army when it came to women's bodies or wristwatches in Germany and Eastern Europe in 1945.

A passage in Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago reveals that Russian writer's own ideological confusion. Stripped of his rank and thrown into a punishment cell for writing anti-Stalinist letters from the front he discovers that his three cellmates, "tankmen in soft black helmets; honest, openhearted soldiers," have been charged with breaking into a bathhouse and attempting to rape two German peasant women, whom Solzhenitsyn takes it upon himself to characterize as "raunchy broads." To Solzhenitsyn, the stern, uncompromising judge of Communist ethics, this rape rap is a vindicative, deliberate miscarriage of justice, for one of the women, he believes, "was the property of the army Chief of Counterintelligence, no less." Never pausing to contemplate the problem or the meaning of rape in war, or a workable system of deterrence and punishment, Solzhenitsyn plainly considers the offense in question no offense at all, attributable to overenthusiastic drunkenness. This he must do because his only concern is to demonstrate the horrors of a cowardly police state, and so he tells us with casuistic logic:

"Yes! For three weeks the war had been going on inside Germany and all of us knew very well that if the girls were German they could be raped and then shot. This was almost a combat distinction. Had they been Polish girls or our own displaced Russian girls, they could have been chased naked around the garden and slapped on the behind—an amusement, no more. But just because this one was the "campaign wife" of the Chief of Counterintelligence, some deep-in-the-rear sergeant had viciously torn from three front-line officers the shoulder boards awarded them by the frontheadquarters..."

General George S. Patton, Jr., unintentionally gave us some insights into the nature of rape in his memoirs of World War II. During the North African campaign in Morocco in 1942, Patton conducted a delicate discussion with an aide to the Sultan in which he advised that "in spite of my most diligent efforts, there would unquestionably be some raping" by American soldiers under his command. Patton's promise that the American miscreants would be hanged brought the response that this would "bring great joy to all Moroccans." A year later, when Patton was on hand for the invasion of Sicily, the very same Moroccans were on the giving, instead of the receiving, end, and Italian women had become the victims. It was all something of a joke to Patton:

"One funny thing happened in connection with the Moroccan troops [he wrote in the same volume of memoirs]. A Sicilian came to me and said he had a complaint to make about the conduct of the Moroccans, or Goums, as they are called. He said he well knew that all Goums were thieves, also that they were murderers, and sometimes indulged in rape—these things he could understand and make allowances for, but when they came to his house, killed his rabbits, and then skinned them in the parlor, it was going too far."

A different view of rape in Italy was presented in the powerful De Sica movie Two Women. A mother (played by Sophia Loren) and her virgin daughter survive the war only to be gang-raped by celebrating Moroccan soldiers in a bombed-out church. The rape of the two women is the movie's ultimate ironic comment on the nature of war and survival.'

+ Susan Brownmiller - "Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape" (1975/1993):

typehost's picture


NYT™ Iraq I "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all," POTUS Today™ spontburst o' pride. #Bush1

'Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bush postponed his university studies, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday, and became the youngest aviator in the U.S. Navy at the time. He served until the end of the war, then attended Yale University. Graduating in 1948, he moved his family to West Texas and entered the oil business, becoming a millionaire by the age of 40. Bush became involved in politics soon after founding his own oil company, and he won election to the House of Representatives in 1966. In 1971, President Richard Nixon appointed Bush as Ambassador to the United Nations, and in 1973, Bush became the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The following year, President Gerald Ford appointed Bush as the ambassador to the People's Republic of China, and later reassigned Bush to the position of Director of Central Intelligence. Bush ran for president in 1980 but was defeated in the Republican primary by Ronald Reagan. Reagan chose Bush as his running mate, and Bush became vice president after the Reagan–Bush ticket won the 1980 election. During his eight-year tenure as vice president, Bush headed administration task forces on deregulation and fighting the "War on Drugs".

In 1988, Bush ran a successful campaign to succeed Reagan as President, defeating Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis. Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency: military operations were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf; the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later. Though the agreement was not ratified until after he left office, Bush also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a trade bloc consisting of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Domestically, Bush reneged on a 1988 campaign promise and, after a struggle with Congress, signed an increase in taxes that Congress had passed. In the wake of a weak recovery from an economic recession, along with continuing budget deficits and the diminution of foreign politics as a major issue in a post-Cold War political climate, he lost the 1992 presidential election to Democrat Bill Clinton. Bush had been accepted to Yale University prior to his enlistment in the military and took up the offer after his discharge and marriage. While at Yale, he was enrolled in an accelerated program that allowed him to graduate in two and a half years, rather than four. He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was elected its president. He also captained the Yale baseball team, and as a left-handed first baseman, played in the first two College World Series. As the team captain, Bush met Babe Ruth before a game during his senior year. He was also, like his father, a member of the Yale cheerleading squad. Late in his junior year he was, like his father Prescott Bush (1917), initiated into the Skull and Bones secret society. He graduated as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.


+ : Civil Rights: Books | History: #CivilRights in the USA 1865-1992 for OCR

After graduating from Yale, Bush moved his young family to West Texas. His father's business connections proved useful as he ventured into the oil business, starting as an oil field equipment salesman for Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman (where Prescott Bush had served on the board of directors for 22 years). While working for Dresser, Bush lived in various places with his family: Odessa, Texas; Ventura, Bakersfield and Compton, California; and Midland, Texas. (According to eldest son George W. Bush, then age two, the family lived in one of the few duplexes in Odessa with an indoor bathroom, which they "shared with a couple of hookers".) Bush started the Bush-Overbey Oil Development company in 1951 and in 1953 co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Corporation, an oil company that drilled in the Permian Basin in Texas. In 1954 he was named president of the Zapata Offshore Company, a subsidiary which specialized in offshore drilling. In 1959, shortly after the subsidiary became independent, Bush moved the company and his family from Midland to Houston. He continued serving as president of the company until 1964, and later chairman until 1966, but his ambitions turned political. By that time, Bush had become a millionaire. According to, Bush had a net worth of $20 million in 2015.

"He supported the Nixon administration's Vietnam policies, but broke with Republicans on the issue of birth control, which he supported."

In 1976 Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), replacing William Colby. He served in this role for 357 days, from January 30, 1976, to January 20, 1977. The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including those based on investigations by the Church Committee regarding illegal and unauthorized activities by the CIA, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale. In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to Jimmy Carter both as a Presidential candidate and as President-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration, but did not do so. He was succeeded by Deputy Director of Central Intelligence E. Henry Knoche, who served as acting Director of Central Intelligence until Stansfield Turner was confirmed.'

+ Zero Day (1975) & The Bangladesh-Vietnam War Cover-UP:

Mukti Bahini

'Bengal was a state of 75 million people, officially East Pakistan, when the Bangladesh government declared its independence in March of 1971 with the support of India. Troops from West Pakistan were flown to the East to put down the rebellion. During the nine-month terror, terminated by the two-week armed intervention of India, a possible three million persons lost their lives, ten million fled across the border to India, and 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped. Eighty percent of the raped women were Moslems, reflecting the population of Bangladesh, but Hindu and Christian women were not exempt. As Moslems, most Bengali women were used to living in purdah, strict, veiled isolation that includes separate, secluded shelter arrangements apart from men, even in their own homes. The Pakistanis were also Moslem, but there the similarity stopped. Despite a shared religious heritage, Punjabi Pakistanis are taller, lighter-skinned and "rawboned" compared to dark, small-boned Bengalis. This racial difference would provide added anguish to those Bengali women who found themselves pregnant after their physical ordeal. Hit-and-run rape of large numbers of Bengali women was brutally simple in terms of logistics as the Pakistani regulars swept through and occupied the tiny, populous land, an area little larger than the state of New York. (Bangladesh is the most overcrowded country in the world.)

The Mukti Bahini "freedom fighters" were hardly an effective counterforce. According to victims, Moslem Biharis who collaborated with the Pakistani Army—the hireling razakars—were most enthusiastic rapists. In the general breakdown of law and order, Mukti Bahini themselves committed rape, a situation reminiscent of World War II when Greek and Italian peasant women became victims of whatever soldiers happened to pass through their village. Rape in Bangladesh had hardly been restricted to beauty. Girls of eight and grandmothers of seventy-five had been sexually assaulted during the nine-month repression. Pakistani soldiers had not only violated Bengali women on the spot; they abducted tens of hundreds and held them by force in their military barracks for nightly use. The women were kept naked to prevent their escape. In some of the camps, pornographic movies were shown to the soldiers, "in an obvious attempt to work the men up," one Indian writer reported. Khadiga, thirteen years old, was interviewed by a photojournalist in Dacca. She was walking to school with four other girls when they were kidnapped by a gang of Pakistani soldiers. All five were put in a military brothel in Mohammedpur and held captive for six months until the end of the war. Khadiga was regularly abused by two men a day; others, she said, had to service seven to ten men daily. (Some accounts have mentioned as many as eighty assaults in a single night, a bodily abuse that is beyond my ability to fully comprehend, even as I write these words.) At first, Khadiga said, the soldiers tied a gag around her mouth to keep her from screaming. As the months wore on and the captives' spirit was broken, the soldiers devised a simple quid pro quo. They withheld the daily ration of food until the girls had submitted, to the full quota.

The most serious crisis was pregnancy. Accurate statistics on the number of raped women who found themselves with child were difficult to determine but 25,000 is the generally accepted figure. Less speculative was the attitude of the raped, pregnant women. Few cared to bear their babies. Those close to birth expressed little interest in the fate of the child. In addition to an understandable horror of rearing a child of forcible rape, it was freely acknowledged in Bangladesh that the bastard children with their fair Punjabi features would never be accepted into Bengali culture—and neither would their mothers. Families with money were able to send their daughters to expert abortionists in Calcutta, but shame and self-loathing and lack of alternatives led to fearsome, irrational solutions in the rural villages. Dr. Geoffrey Davis of the London-based International Abortion Research and Training Center who worked for months in the remote countryside of Bangladesh reported that he had heard of "countless" incidents of suicide and infanticide during his travels. Rat poison and drowning were the available means. Davis also estimated that five thousand women had managed to abort themselves by various indigenous methods, with attendant medical complications.

Theory and conjecture abounded, all of it based on the erroneous assumption that the massive rape of Bangladesh had been a crime without precedent in modern history. But the mass rape of Bangladesh had not been unique. The number of rapes per capita during the nine-month occupation of Bangladesh had been no greater than the incidence of rape during one month of occupation in the city of Nanking in 1937, no greater than the per capita incidence of rape in Belgium and France as the German Army marched unchecked during the first three months of World War I, no greater than the violation of women in every village in Soviet Russia in World War II. A "campaign of terror" and a charge of "conscious Army policy" had been offered up in explanation by seekers of rational answers in those wars as well, and later forgotten. The story of Bangladesh was unique in one respect. For the first time in history the rape of women in war, and the complex aftermath of mass assault, received serious international attention. The desperate need of Sheik Mujibur Rahman's government for international sympathy and financial aid was part of the reason; a new feminist consciousness that encompassed rape as a political issue and a growing, practical acceptance of abortion as a solution to unwanted pregnancy were contributing factors of critical importance. And so an obscure war in an obscure corner of the globe, to Western eyes, provided the setting for an examination of the "unspeakable" crime. For once, the particular terror of unarmed women facing armed men had full hearing.'

+ Susan Brownmiller - "Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape" (1975/1993):
+ +



'The Diên Niên – Phước Bình massacre was a massacre conducted by South Korean forces on October 9 and October 10, 1966, of 280 unarmed citizens in Tịnh Sơn village, Sơn Tịnh District, Quảng Ngãi Province in South Vietnam. The massacre was conducted in two hamlets in Tịnh Sơn village. One massacre was conducted in the Dien Nien Temple in Dien Nien hamlet, the second massacre was conducted in Phước Bình hamlet schoolyard. Most of the victims were children, elderly and women. The number of dead is given as 180 by Viet Nam News. The South Korean forces are accused of conducting similar massacres in Bình An village, Bình Hòa village, Bình Tai village and Tây Vinh village in the same year.'

Binh Tai Massacre:
Diên Niên – Phước Bình Massacre:

Major Military Bases the USAF operated from in Thailand:
+ “Well, let me tell you: it is Operation Popeye and Operation Commando Lava that does it."

Don Muang Royal Thai Air Force Base, 1961–1970
+ Major USAF Unit: 631st Combat Support Group, 1962-1970

Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, 1962–1975
+ Major USAF Unit: 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1965-1975

Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Navy Base, 1962–1976
+ Major USAF Unit: 56th Special Operations Wing, 1967-1975

Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, 1961–1971; 1972–1974
+ Major USAF Unit: 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1965-1971; Rotational units, 1972-1974

U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, 1965–1976
+ Major USAF Units: 4258th Strategic Wing, 1966-1970; 307th Strategic Wing, 1970-1975

Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, 1965–1974
+ Major USAF Unit: 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1965-1974

Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, 1964–1976
+ Major USAF Unit: 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 1966-1975

'The circumstances surrounding the creation of these bases and the American deployment is a long and complex tale. Its origins lie in the French withdrawal from Indochina as a result of the 1954 Geneva Agreement, nationalism and the Cold War.'
+ U.S. War Crimes - Thailand & South Vietnam:
+ Popeye (Urban):


'Among the secret documents concerning American involvement in Vietnam that came to light with the publication of The Pentagon Papers was a report on a covert mission headed by U.S. Air Force Colonel Edward G. Lansdale in 1954-1955. Set into motion right after the fall of Dienbienphu while the French met with the Vietmin at Geneva, the broad purpose of the Lansdale mission was "to assist the Vietnamese in unconventional warfare" by undertaking paramilitary operations and by waging political psychological warfare—"psywar" for short in Pentagon terminology. "Psywar" consisted of carefully planted rumor campaigns designed to confound the forces of Ho Chi Minh and undermine Hanoi's relationship with the Chinese Communists. The first rumor campaign concerned rape. Mindful of Nationalist Chinese troop behavior in 1945 and seeking to play on Vietnamese fears of Chinese occupation under Vietminh rule, an American-trained Vietnamese Psywar Company was instructed to dress in civilian clothes, infiltrate Hanoi and spread the rumor that a Chinese Communist regiment had raped the women of a North Vietnamese village. According to the Lansdale Team's report as printed in The Pentagon Papers, "The troops received their instructions silently, dressed in civilian clothes, went on their mission, and failed to return. They had deserted to the Vietminh."

The Vietnam war, not just America's twenty-year involvement but beginning with the original struggle for independence against the colonial French, has been a sociological crucible of rape in which certain groups of people have been observed to behave differently from other groups of people, and for this reason it sheds valuable light on the rape mentality. In one respect, of course, this war was no different from others—rarely, if ever, was rape considered newsworthy enough to find its way into the dispatches of a foreign correspondent. In December, 1972, when the Paris "peace" talks had finally reached an intensive phase, I had several long interviews in New York with Peter Arnett, Associated Press correspondent in Vietnam for eight years. Like the rest of the Saigon press corps, this Pulitzer Prize winner had never filed a rape story from Vietnam, but like the rest of the press corps he had certainly been aware of its incidence. When he began to think about it, Arnett was able to delineate rape in Vietnam on many levels. Before 1954 the foreign presence in Vietnam had been French, and it was Arnett's reading of history that the French paratroopers maintained a stricter discipline than their mercenary legionnaires who were permitted to rape and loot, or so he had heard from South Vietnamese for whom life "before the Americans" was already folklore. It was Arnett's impression that the South Vietnamese Army, the ARVN, had participated in little raping at the beginning of the long war, but with the escalation of the conflict, concomitant with a growing brutalization, the incidence of ARVN rape increased. Disciplinary machinery within the South Vietnamese Army was always lax but other factors militated against ARVN rape. In the government-controlled areas, the larger cities, an illegal act was always punishable and therefore dangerous: a raped woman might turn out to be a wife or daughter of a well-connected family. "The ARVN could not go through Saigon and rape, obviously," he told me, but the situation was different during military operations. "When the government-controlled areas came under pressure, remember the Tet offensive—anything could happen. There could be little redress by the population. Non-government-controlled areas, the free-fire zones, were always fair game."

South Vietnamese soldiers were allowed to keep their families with them at their base camps. Arnett believed that the presence of the wives and a general availability of sex (the brothel system has been a traditional part of Vietnamese society) gave ARVN soldiers less cause to rape. Another possibility is that the presence of wives and children on the campgrounds would exert a moral force against the rape of other women. Also, the ARVN's military operations were always in the neighboring vicinity and of short duration. Not only did the men understand that they were to soon return to their wives and/or brothels, there was also a strong probability that they might actually know, or even be related to, the girls in the villages they passed through. "A lot of casual rape was avoided because of family relations," Arnett had concluded. That family relations served as a deterrent is a point to give one pause. The American Civil War, like Vietnam, in some respects a struggle of brother against brother, is considered a low-rape war by those few historians who have thought about it. Injunctions against assaulting one's sister or one's buddy's sister are part of the code of honor among men; furthermore, anonymity between rapist and victim is an important factor in rape since an unknown woman is more easily stripped of her humanity. • In contrast to the ARVN, the South Vietnamese Rangers elite fighting troops who were transported from one part of Vietnam to another—were commonly credited with a higher incidence of rape by the foreign press. Set down in an unfamiliar area, the Rangers were without family ties and less likely to know or care about the feelings of the local women. As the elite corps of the South Vietnamese, I might add, they may also have been influenced by a swaggering, swashbuckling self-image.

Similarly, when the regular South Vietnamese forces were sent into Cambodia during the brief invasion of May, 1970 they freely looted and raped in every village they passed through—to such "an extent that the Lon Nol government ("our" Cambodian government) officially protested. "It must be harder to rape your own nationality" was Arnett's sudden insight when he put his own facts together. Regarding this Cambodian invasion, the pro-Communist Prince Sihanouk later remarked in black humor that President Thieu actually had been "very useful" to him: "Yes, indeed," he told Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, "Sirik Matak used to say that the North Vietnamese and Vietcong behaved badly in Cambodia. But when he saw Thieu's soldiers—those wild beasts who murdered children, raped women, burned houses, destroyed temples, he had to admit: 'Sihanouk's Vietnamese were better.' In short, if Thieu had not sent his wild beasts, there wouldn't be so many Khmer Rouge; young Cambodians would not have flocked into the resistance groups in tens of thousands." As the war dragged on, geographic and nationality considerations diminished. "After being in a war and seeing your buddies killed, your intent becomes evil," Arnett believes. "It was true for all troops—all they'd think about was eating, drinking and screwing." And so the South Vietnamese Army, which raped little at the beginning of the war, stepped up its activity.

The "main molesting"— Arnett's phrase—was done at the special interrogation centers. "Under the pretext of finding out Vietcong information they would pick out an attractive young girl in a village and march her along in their column to take her to the interrogation center. Sometimes the unit might lead her into the forest, and then we, the reporters, would hear screams. She could be raped down the line at stages before she was finally released. When she was brought before the commander even then it might turn out that he knew her family and then she'd be let go." Arnett was among those reporters who heard screams when interrogation units led a woman into the forest, and like the others, he never investigated further. "The South Vietnamese are a private people and it was always done quietly. They were much less likely to have a public gang-rape scene than the Americans," he offered by way of sociological explanation. He also used the typical reporter's stand-by that rape was "hard to verify," although he admitted that "at the end of the war all women who came out of Army jails would say they had been raped." Time magazine, in a wrap-up on Saigon's political prisoners that appeared in December, 1972, stated with caution, "Horror stories abound and most Saigonese accept them as true. One woman recently released from central police headquarters reported that her interrogators shoved a rubber stick up her vagina."

Torture of female political prisoners traditionally includes rape or variations of genital abuse. Whether sadistic torture leads by its own logic to the infliction of sexual pain, or whether the motive of eliciting political information is merely a pretext for the commission of hostile sexual acts, the end result for a woman is almost inevitable. As German soldiers in 1944 tortured and raped Maquis supporters, and as French paratroopers tortured and raped Algerian resistance leaders a decade later, so in the year 1972 beyond the horrors of the interrogation centers in South Vietnam one heard of electric shocks and rape applied to female political prisoners in Argentina and severe beating and electric shocks administered to the sexual organs of male and female prisoners in Brazil, including the doubly vengeful act, "a woman raped in front of her husband by one of his torturers." Six months later the pattern was repeated by the Portuguese in the colonies of Angola and Mozambique, and a year after that by the military government of Chile. Throughout much of the world the pretext of securing political information has led, in a woman's case, to rape. With political objectivity Peter Arnett, a New Zealander, told me that it was common knowledge among the Saigon press corps that the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army rarely committed rape. "The VC used terror as a daily weapon," he said bluntly. "They would line up and behead the leaders of a village as a matter of course, but rape was not part of their system of punishment. They were prohibited from looting, stealing food or rape, and we were always surprised when they did it. We heard very little of VC rape."


The Vietcong prohibition against rape went further than moral suasion. American military intelligence routinely made available to reporters captured documents taken from dead Vietcong in the field. Among these documents Arnett had several times seen papers referring to Vietcong soldiers who were reprimanded, sent to the rear or even shot for rape. "The VC would publicize an execution for rape," he said. "Rape was a serious crime for them. It was considered a serious political blunder to rape and loot. It just wasn't done. At the same time they made women who were raped by the other side into heroines, examples of enemy atrocity."* Arnett's analysis of why the Vietcong didn't rape went beyond their efficient system of reprimands. He was aware that Vietcong women played a major role in military operations and that the presence of women fighting as equals among their men acted against the sexual humiliation or mistreatment of other women, and he understood that a guerrilla force depends for its survival upon the good will of the people, men and women alike. He was also mindful of what he called the Vietcong's "sense of dedication" to their revolutionary mission. To elaborate on this point he employed an interesting comparison. "I knew American officers," he said, "who did not use the brothels during all the time they were in Vietnam. These men were so involved with their dedication to winning the war that they literally did not need sex, while it was a different story, of course, for the American enlisted men. I think the Vietcong could control their lust from a similar sense of dedication." The AP correspondent and I differed strongly during our several interviews over whether "lust" or a powerful male need for sex had anything to do with the incidence of wartime rape, or, for that matter, the use of Army brothels, and I am at great pains to quote him fairly, although I disagree with this part of his analysis. Observers in Vietnam, and 99.9% of them were men, were usually confounded by the lack of Vietcong rape (if they thought about it at all).

The experience of Kate Webb, United Press International's bureau chief in Cambodia, bears this out. Webb, like Arnett a New Zealander, was captured and kept prisoner by the Vietcong for twenty-three days. Months after her release she said, "Everybody wants to know if I was raped. And when I tell them no, most people seem to be disappointed. They don't understand the Vietnamese code of very strict behavior." An American, Dr. Marjorie Nelson, who worked in a medical rehabilitation center for Vietnamese civilians from 1967 to 1969 and was captured along with another American woman by Vietcong in Hue during the Tet offensive, also needed to protest her chastity after her release. She said, "This is a question that I know comes up in the minds of, well, certainly of any GI who's been in Vietnam, and many other people. Certainly this thing could have occurred, and I think on a couple of occasions we were simply lucky that it didn't. However, once we were in the camp it was quite clear that the cadre also were concerned about this, and they made sure that our privacy was respected." And so we come to the Americans—where first we must look at institutionalized prostitution, for as the American presence in Vietnam multiplied, the unspoken military theory of women's bodies as not only a reward of war but as a necessary provision like soda pop and ice cream, to keep our boys healthy and happy, turned into routine practice. And if monetary access to women's bodies did not promote an ideology of rape in Vietnam, neither did it thwart it.

General George S. Patton, who had been so pragmatic about expectations of rape, is credited with the desire to experiment with military brothels during his World War II command, an idea he abandoned when he became convinced that the uproar they would create among wives and mothers back in the States might hurt the war effort. Patton did not have his way in World War II but his ghost must have approved of Vietnam. The tradition of military brothels had been established in Vietnam long before the American presence. The late Bernard Fall, who wrote so vividly of the war in its early years, detailed with enthusiasm the French Army's particular contribution to the use of women in war—the mobile field brothel, or Boidel Mobile de Campagne, stocked with girls imported from Algeria. "The B.M.C.'s would travel with units in the combat zones," Fall wrote, "and in general, the French Army in Indochina kept them pretty much out of sight of American newsmen and officials. 'You can just imagine the howl if some blabbermouth comes out with a statement to the effect that American funds are used to maintain bordellos for the French Army,' said one colonel." A mobile field brothel, Fall reported, was inside the famous fortress of Dienbienphu when the French surrendered.

By the time the Americans had fully replaced the French in Indochina the war had sufficiently disrupted South Vietnamese society to a point where it was no longer necessary to import foreign women for the purpose of military prostitution. I do not mean to imply that prostitution was unknown in Vietnam before the long war. As Peter Arnett told me, "Prostitution was a time honored, tradition. Certain heads of families would not think twice before routinely selling their daughters if they needed the money." But as the long war progressed, prostitution increasingly became the only viable economic solution for thousands of South Vietnamese women. By 1966 the problem had reached such proportions that a Committee for the Defense of the Vietnamese Woman's Human Dignity and Rights was organized in Saigon by several hundred women educators, writers and social workers, according to an AP dispatch. The wire service reported that "bitter words" were expressed at the first meeting. "The miserable conditions of war have forced our people to sell everything—their wives, children, relatives and friends—for the American dollar," a woman educator was quoted. The Committee for the Defense of the Vietnamese Woman, overwhelmed by the reality of the Vietnam war, was never heard from again.

The American military got into the prostitution business by degrees, an escalation process linked to the escalation of the war. Underlying the escalation was the assumption that men at war required the sexual use of women's bodies. Reporter Arnett saw the gradual acceptance of U.S. military-controlled and -regulated brothels as a natural outgrowth of what he called "the McNamara theory": "In 1965 the main idea was to keep the troops contented and satisfied. Ice cream, movies, swimming pools, pizza, hot dogs, laundry service and hootch maids. The hootch maids were brought in as maids, not as prostitutes. Sex with a hootch maid was a private arrangement, a relationship of convenience. A lot of hootch maids did become prostitutes, however, but in the early days if they were discovered at it, they were fired." The hootch maids were the first step toward accommodation; bar girls and massage parlors soon followed. According to Arnett, the rear-area troops caused the most "problems": "There was a lot of discontent and boredom. The men were aware that they were soldiers who weren't fighting, who weren't getting any medals. They might drive into town to the illegal brothels, but for reasons of VD and security the brothels were off limits." (Massage parlors, that vague gray area of sexual action from Saigon to New York City, were always considered legal.) In 1965 the Marine Corps base at Danang began experimenting with organized battalion trips to town on a once-a-month basis, but according to Arnett it was a disaster: "The men would hit town like animals, they couldn't cope, it was pure chaos."

After this early experience the Marine command decided to confine their men to the base camp, but the inviolate law of supply and demand went into operation. A shantytown of brothels, massage parlors and dope dealers, known as Dogpatch, soon ringed the base. "The marines would bust through the wire at night—the Marine command could live with that," the reporter told me. It was Arnett's opinion (not shared by me) that the U.S. Army was "more enlightened" than the Marine Corps when it came to sexual accommodation. By 1966 the 1st Cavalry Division at An Khe, in the Central Highlands, the 1st Infantry Division at Lai Khe, twenty-five miles north of Saigon, and the 4th Infantry Division at Pleiku had established official military brothels within the perimeter of their base camps. The Lai Khe "recreation area" belonging to the base camp of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division was a one-acre compound surrounded by barbed wire with American MP's standing guard at the gate. It was opened only during daylight hours for security reasons. Inside the compound there were shops that sold hot dogs, hamburgers and souvenirs, but the main attraction was two concrete barracks, each about one hundred feet long—the military whorehouses that serviced the four-thousand-man brigade. Each building was outfitted with two bars, a bandstand, and sixty curtained cubicles in which the Vietnamese women lived and worked. An individual cubicle contained little more than a table with a thin mattress on it and a peg on one wall for the girl's change of clothing. On the opposite wall a Playboy nude centerfold provided decoration and stimulation for the visiting soldier. The women who lived in the Lai Khe recreation-center cubicles were garishly made up with elaborate, sprayed bouffant hairdos and many had enlarged their breasts with silicone injections as a concession to Western fetish. The sexual service, as Arnett described it, was "quick, straight and routine," and the women were paid five hundred piasters (the equivalent of two dollars in American money) for each turn by their GI clients. Americans always paid in piasters. For each trick she turned, a girl would get to keep two hundred piasters (seventy-five cents), the rest going to various levels of payoffs. By turning eight to ten tricks a day a typical prostitute in the Lai Khe compound earned more per month than her GI clients, Arnett advised me—a curious sidelight to a not-so-free enterprise system.

Refugees who had lost their homes and families during the war and veterans of the earlier Saigon bar trade formed the stock of the brothel. They were recruited by the province chief, who took his payoff, and were channeled into town by the mayor of Lai Khe, who also got his cut. The American military, which kept its hands partially clean by leaving the procurement and price arrangement to Vietnamese civilians, controlled and regulated the health and security features of the trade. "The girls were checked and swabbed every week for V D by Army medics," my informed source told me approvingly. Military brothels on Army base camps ("Sin Cities," "Disneylands" or "boom-boom parlors") were built by decision of a division commander, a two-star general, and were under the direct operational control of a brigade commander with the rank of colonel. Clearly, Army brothels in Vietnam existed by the grace of Army Chief of Staff William C. Westmoreland, the United States Embassy in Saigon, and the Pentagon. Venereal disease, mostly gonorrhea, was a major preoccupation of the military in Vietnam. One official brothel outside Saigon had a sign on the wall of the bar that read "GIRLS WITH TAGS ARE CLEAN." Lest the declaration failed to make its point, a sign on the opposite wall spelled out "GIRLS WITHOUT TAGS ARE DISEASED." It was mandatory for all units to report their incidence of VD to the higher-ups, since it reflected on military discipline as well as on the health of the soldiery, and a high VD count was charged against the merit rating of a battalion. "Most units lied about their VD count," Arnett believed. It was also his understanding that the reported VD rate "was high from the beginning" in relation to other wars and to a normal civilian population. (In 1969 GI's contracted venereal disease in Vietnam at a reported rate of 200 cases per 1,000 persons; the United States rate at the time was 32 per 1,000.) Company commanders often went to ingenious lengths to lower their counts. One commander, Arnett told me, boasted that there was no VD at all in his company. His method of protecting his men was highly enterprising: "He didn't allow them to use the official brothel, he didn't trust it. It turned out he kept six girls sequestered on his part of the base and had them shot full of penicillin every day."

I am sorry that it is not within the scope of this book to explore the lives of Vietnamese women who became "Occupation: prostitute" as a direct result of the foreign military presence in their country. It is a story that should be told in detail, from the tremendous source of revenue that prostitution provided their beleaguered country, to accounts of Saigon brothels filled with ten year- old girls, to the incidence of work-related deaths from tuberculosis and venereal disease, and with a special nod of recognition to those who survived. I have dwelt on official U.S. military prostitution, and the concomitant concern for control of venereal disease, because it is necessary to understand the military mind before proceeding to an examination of GI rape. Except for the Marine Corps, which attempted to enforce a relatively strict moral code, the use of women's bodies on the base camps was seen as a way to "keep the boys happy." Officers were not expected to engage in whoring; the institution was made available for the foot soldier, or "grunt," the fellow with the least to gain from being in Vietnam, the one who needed to be mollified and pacified—perhaps because he was fighting a war he did not understand and because he daily faced the possibility that he might be killed. As Arnett cautioned me to remember, "These guys were always thinking, 'I'm gonna get screwed tonight—this may be my last.'"

It was this mollification aspect, and not a belief that soldiers required the use of a woman's body out of some intrinsic male urge, that motivated the U.S. Army to get into the prostitution business. A regular tour of duty in Vietnam consisted of a one-year stretch, not an unconscionably long period of time to be without a woman, and relief from sexual tension could be, and I presume routinely was, accomplished by masturbation. As one GI prisoner of war remarked upon his repatriation in February, 1973, "This stuff about not being able to live without sex is nonsense. What I dreamed about was food and medicine." And while the military's emphasis on avoidance of venereal disease is certainly commendable, for all the anti-VD training films and for all the concern about merit ratings, there was no comparable cautionary training against committing rape. At peak strength the United States had slightly under 550,000 men in South Vietnam, twelve divisions of infantry and marines. Nine men were required to back up and service one man in the field, so there were never more than sixty or seventy thousand men available for combat at any given time and only one-fifth of these men were operating in highly populated areas. From what we already know about the rape of women in war, we can say that no more than fourteen thousand GI's in Vietnam at any given time had the two prerequisites: access and opportunity. It stands to reason that there would be fewer incidents of rape, overall, in the highlands because there were fewer Vietnamese people in this forbidding terrain. In contrast, the two divisions that worked in the heart of the population—the 9th Division in the Mekong Delta and the Americal Division (to which Lieutenant William Calley belonged), which operated along the central coast—had particularly bad reputations for atrocity.

Despite the intense propaganda throughout the long war, our American soldiers did not believe that they were "liberating" anyone, nor were they perceived as liberators. Men in the field were perpetually in a tenuous, frustrating semi-combat situation. As Arnett described it, "There were no fixed targets, no objectives, no highways to take—it was patrol and repatrol, search and destroy. Anything outside the perimeter of the base camp or the nearest government-controlled village was enemy territory, and all civilians were treated as enemy. It was so easy to rape on a squad level. Soldiers would enter a village without an interpreter. Nobody spoke Vietnamese. It was an anonymous situation. Any American could grab any woman as a suspect and there was little or no recourse to the law by the people." Raping and looting go hand in hand in warfare but there was little to loot in the villages of South Vietnam. Arnett believed that the juxtaposition of fragile, small-boned Vietnamese women against tall, strong American men created an exaggerated masculine- feminine dynamic that lent itself readily to rape (a similar situation had occurred in Bangladesh). He thought that the Americans participated more in gang rape than in individual assault, the style of the South Vietnamese Army, "because the Americans were trained in the buddy system, for security. They were warned against the dangers of individual fraternizing on operations." The likelihood of sexual assault diminished, he believed, "if the company commander was present—a career officer, a captain or a lieutenant. The noncoms and soldiers had less at stake." His final observation, shared by his Vietnamese wife, his wife's family and others he knew, was that whatever the incidence of atrocity from 1965 on, "the Americans' personal conduct was far better historically than the French, their mercenaries, or the Japanese."


'In 1971, one month after the notorious My Lai massacre, 100 Vietnam veterans gathered in a Detroit hotel conference room to testify to the horrors and crimes they had witnessed and committed during combat. Although not covered in the news at the time, the meeting was recorded by an anonymous film-making collective and turned into an angry, haunted and essential documentary-cum-confessional that went virtually unseen for more than 30 years. As with the classic Shoah, this vital time capsule presents the horrors of war unadorned.'

+ Winter Soldier - "The Winterfilm Collective" (1972):

U.S. Army court-martial statistics for rape and related charges in Vietnam from January 1, 1965, to January 31, 1973, are as follows:

RAPE: tried 38 convicted 24
RAPE AND ASSAULT (Combined Charge): tried 5 convicted
ATTEMPTED RAPE: tried convicted 10
SODOMY: tried convicted 11 5
ATTEMPTED SODOMY: tried convicted 5 3
CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (Statutory Rape): tried convicted l l
Total tried: 86.
Total convicted: 50.
Conviction rate: 58 percent.

To avoid redundancy and overkill I have spared my readers a stopover in Korea during this long march through the history of rape in war. However, partial figures for Army court-martial convictions from May 31, 1951, to May 30, 1953, are available.

Rape: 23; assault with intent to commit rape: 9.

Thus, in a two-year period in Korea there were more convictions in these two categories than there were during eight years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It also should be kept in mind that the United States had a peak troop strength in Korea of 394,000 men while the peak troop strength in Vietnam reached 543,400. It is possible to conclude from this limited comparison that the rape rate was higher per soldier in Korea (unlikely) or that investigatory and court-martial procedures for rape-related charges were more lax in Vietnam. Court-martial statistics for other branches of the service in Vietnam were more difficult to obtain. In my many inquiries to the different branches of the military I found the Army Judiciary to be the most open and most cooperative of all, and this despite the Army's recognition that in a sense there was little to gain from cooperation. As a retired colonel in the Judge Advocate General's office told me, "Whatever we give you, some people will say the Army is a bunch of criminals and the rest will say we run kangaroo courts."

Air Force court-martial statistics for rape and related charges in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines from 1965 to 1973 were:

RAPE: tried 2 convicted 1 rape; 1 lesser offense
ARTICLE 134 ("lewd, lascivious and indecent acts"): tried 12 convicted 8

The Air Force also released to me their world-wide figures for this time span, including offenses traceable to base camps in the continental United States:

Convictions for Rape: 58
Additional convictions, men charged with rape but convicted of a lesser offense: 11
Convictions under Article 134: 554

Because of a conversion to computerized information retrieval, I was told, court-martial statistics for the Navy and the Marine Corps in Vietnam were available only for the period from 1970 to 1973 and were limited to convictions for rape, carnal knowledge and "lesser offenses." The Navy man explained the paucity of figures from his branch with the astute comment, "Remember, we didn't live there."

Vietnam War

What meaning can be read into all of these figures? As an indicator of the actual number of rapes committed by the American military in Vietnam they are practically worthless. If in the United States a mere one in five rapes is reported, what percentage might have been reported in Vietnam, where a victim who survived the assault knew no English, had little or no recourse to the law, and was considered an enemy, a gook, a slope, a slant, or a "female Oriental" in the legal language of the courts-martial briefs? A Clerk of the Court in the U.S. Army Judiciary could provide me with no raw arrest figures to compare with actual court martial, nor could he give me an official breakdown on the length of sentence imposed. My cursory examination of a handful of convictions led me to believe that a sentence of two to eight years at hard labor might be typical for rape, even in cases in which the victim had been murdered; that sodomy, attempted rape and attempted sodomy were preferred as charges because they carried lesser penalties; and that sentences were routinely cut in half by a board of review.'

+ Susan Brownmiller - "Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape" (1975/1993):

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The Motel-6™ Fusion: The Pentagon® & Fortune™ 500 United® (2017):

'The current system of unified commands in the US military emerged during World War II with the establishment of geographic theaters of operation composed of forces from multiple service branches that reported to a single commander who was supported by a joint staff. A unified command structure also existed to coordinate British and American military forces operating under the Combined Chiefs of Staff, which was composed of the British Chiefs of Staff Committee and the American Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the European Theater, Allied military forces fell under the command of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). After SHAEF was dissolved at the end of the war, the American forces were unified under a single command, the US Forces, European Theater (USFET), commanded by General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower. Unified commands in the Pacific Theater proved more difficult to organize as neither General of the Army Douglas MacArthur nor Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was willing to become subordinate to the other. The Joint Chiefs of Staff continued to advocate in favor of establishing permanent unified commands, and President Harry S. Truman approved the first plan on 14 December 1946. Known as the "Outline Command Plan," it would become the first in a series of Unified Command Plans.The original "Outline Command Plan" of 1946 established seven unified commands: Far East Command, Pacific Command, Alaskan Command, Northeast Command, the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Caribbean Command, and European Command. However, on 5 August 1947, the CNO recommended instead that CINCLANTFLT be established as a fully unified commander under the broader title of Commander in Chief, Atlantic (CINCLANT). The Army and Air Force objected, and CINCLANTFLT was activated as a unified command on 1 November 1947. A few days later, the CNO renewed his suggestion for the establishment of a unified Atlantic Command. This time his colleagues withdrew their objections, and on 1 December 1947, the U.S. Atlantic Command (LANTCOM) was created under the Commander in Chief, Atlantic (CINCLANT). The Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 clarified and codified responsibilities that commanders-in-chief (CINCs) undertook, and which were first given legal status in 1947. After that act, CINCs reported directly to the United States Secretary of Defense, and through him to the President of the United States.'

+ The Pentagon & Fortune 500: "A unified combatant command (UCC) is a United States Department of Defense":

'New Yorker writer Daniel Lang detailed one specific incident of GI gang rape in Vietnam. In November, 1966, a squad of five men on reconnaissance patrol approached the tiny hamlet of Cat Tuong, in the Central Highlands. Their five-day mission was to have been a general search for VC in the area, but when they entered the village they searched instead for a young girl to take along with them for five days of "boom boom." It was understood by the men that at the end of the patrol they would have to kill her and hide her body. Lang used pseudonyms for the five soldiers and the real name of the victim, Phan Thi Mao, a name that the soldiers never learned until their court-martial proceedings. Mao was picked out by the men because for some reason a gold tooth in her mouth amused them. She was perhaps twenty years old. As the soldiers knew precisely the intent of their action, so, too, did the women of the village, who cowered, wept and clung to one another as Mao's hands were bound efficiently behind her back before she was marched down the road. In one of the most pathetic incidents of the entire affair, Mao's mother ran after the soldiers with her daughter's scarf, the only act of protection she could think of. One of the men took it and tied it around their captive's mouth. Of the five men in the patrol only one, Private First Class Sven Eriksson, did not participate in Mao's rape and murder. As Lang described the ordeal, individual acts of superfluous cruelty practiced on Mao appeared to be a competition for a masculinity pecking order. Eriksson, for refusing to take his turn in Mao's gang rape, was derided by the patrol leader, Sergeant Tony Meserve, as a queer and a chicken. One of the followers, Manuel Diaz, later haltingly told the military prosecutor that fear of ridicule had made him decide to go along with the rest: "Okay, let's say you are on a patrol. These guys right here are going to start laughing you out. Pretty soon you're going to be an outcast from the platoon." After her murder, Phan Thi Mao was reported as "one VC, killed in action."

Eriksson's resolve that the crime would not go unpunished met with a curious wall of resistance from his superiors back in the base camp, and the men in his platoon who heard the story began to view him as a whistle-blowing troublemaker. He became half convinced that he narrowly escaped a fragging. "Whatever I could do depended on finding someone with both the rank and the conscience to help me," he told Daniel Lang. "Otherwise I'd stay boxed in by the chain of command." Summarily transferred to another camp one day after the alleged fragging, Eriksson finally managed to tell his story to a sympathetic Mormon chaplain who alerted the Criminal Investigation Division. Mao's decomposing body was found on the hill where Eriksson said it would be and her sister was located and was carefully interrogated. A separate court-martial was held for each of the four men in the winter of the following year. In each of the trials Eriksson's manhood was brought into question by the defense. "It was just that he was less than average as far as being one of the guys," a sergeant in his old platoon testified, while Sergeant Tony Meserve was depicted by his superior officer as "one of the best combat soldiers I have known." With one exception the defendants went through their courts-martial convinced they were guilty of no wrongdoing. The man who drew the heaviest penalty, life imprisonment, had his sentence cut on review to eight years.

Rape played a role during the most infamous atrocity of the Vietnam war, the My Lai massacre of March 16, 1968. Thanks to Seymour M. Hersh, who broke the story of the Army investigation of My Lai and the subsequent court-martial of Lieutenant William L. Calley, and who later wrote a meticulous account of My Lai's destruction, we are able to glimpse the casual, continuing war against women contained within a larger assault. According to Hersh and others, including New York Times reporter Joseph Lelyveld, members of Charlie Company, Captain Ernest Medina's unit within the Americal Division, had begun abusing women near their base camp in Quang Ngai Province a month before the destruction of My Lai. Although these rapes were common knowledge in the unit, there were no official reprimands. One gang rape and murder of a peasant woman, set upon while she labored in a field with her baby at her side, had even been photographed step by step by one of the participants with his Instamatic camera. Charlie Company was a "grunt" unit. "As always," Hersh wrote, "the men assigned to infantry units were those who upon entering service performed poorly on the various Army qualification and aptitude examinations." Most of the men in C Company had volunteered for the draft; most were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two; nearly half were black. The systematic shooting of old men, women and children at My Lai began at breakfast time. By 10:30 A.M. most of the wanton destruction of unarmed human beings (accounts vary between 109 and 567 lives; the Army's Criminal Investigation Division settled on 347) had already been accomplished and the soldiers were cooling themselves out—loafing, smoking, methodically setting fire to whatever huts and houses remained standing, and shooting stragglers and wounded survivors with short bursts of fire.

It was at this time that enlisted men Jay Roberts and Ron Haeberle, a reporter-photographer team assigned by the Department of Defense to officially record the My Lai "operation/' witnessed their first attempted rape of the day. Hersh transcribed their impressions:

'A few men now singled out a slender Vietnamese girl of about fifteen. They tore her from the group and started to pull at her blouse. They attempted to fondle her breasts. The women and children were screaming and crying. One G.I. yelled, 'Let's see what she's made of.' Another said, 'V.C. Boom Boom,' meaning she was a Viet Cong whore. . . . An old lady began fighting with fanatical fury, trying to protect the girl. Roberts said, 'She was fighting off two or three guys at once. She was fantastic. Usually they're pretty passive. . . . They hadn't even gotten that chick's blouse off when Haeberle came along.' One of the G.I.s finally smacked the old woman with his rifle butt; another booted her in the rear." Aware of the presence of an Army photographer, a GI abruptly resolved the incident by shooting both women. Haeberle's photograph, a shot taken seconds before the double murder, was published in Life magazine twenty-one months later when the story of My Lai was made public. Back in Vietnam, Senator Tran Van Don, a leader of the "loyal opposition" to the Thieu-Ky government, was conducting his own investigation into the My Lai affair. He routinely showed the Life photograph to Do Tan Nhon, a hamlet chief who had survived the massacre. Nhon identified the two women in the picture as his wife and daughter. Senator Don's investigation turned up further accounts of rape, attempted rape and rape-murder during the assault on My Lai. A rice farmer named Le Tong saw a woman raped after the GI's had killed her children. A peasant named Khoa witnessed the rape and murder of a thirteen-year-old girl. The same attackers then turned on Khoa's wife, but before they could rape her, Khoa's small son, riddled with bullets, fell on his mother's body, covering her with blood. The soldiers lost interest in the woman and moved away. Seymour Hersh questioned each of his soldier-informants about rape at My Lai. He concluded, "Most of the company knew there were rapes that day in March, but remained reluctant to talk about them." A philosophic explanation from John Smail, a squad leader in the 3rd Platoon, struck Hersh as quotable. "That's an everyday affair," Smail said. "You can nail just about everybody on that—at least once. The guys are human, man."'

Informant John Paul told Hersh that later in the evening some of the GI's brought two women from one of the My Lai hamlets down to the beach, but Paul wasn't certain what happened to them. Gregory Olsen and Roy Wood recalled a vivid incident during the following morning's mopping-up operation. Three Vietnamese men and a woman were sighted running from a burning hut in one of the hamlets and members of the 2nd Platoon gave chase. The men got away but the woman was caught. Olsen saw the woman stripped naked and flung over a GI's shoulder. "He said he was going to put it to her, but she was too dirty," Olsen reported. Roy Wood had a more specific recollection. The whole 2nd Platoon "caught her ass," he remembered. "They all raped her . . . tore her up." Bleeding badly, the woman later managed to make an escape. Most of Charlie Company eventually learned of the 2nd Platoon's group rape and the grapevine had it that the woman was a North Vietnamese Army nurse. "She sure must have been tough," Wood mused with some wonderment. "She took on all of them." Helicopter door gunner Ronald L. Ridenhour was the conscience- striken GI whose persistent letters to Washington did much to keep alive the My Lai investigation. Ridenhour's first view was from the air a few days after Charlie Company's assault. The hamlet was deserted. Flying over a rice paddy, Ridenhour and his pilot sighted a body on the field below. The pilot propelled their craft downward for a closer look. "It was a woman," Ridenhour later said with emotion. "She was spread-eagled, as if on display. She had an 11th Brigade patch between her legs—as if it were some type of display, some badge of honor." At least three members of Charlie Company were formally charged with rape in connection with the My Lai massacre. Although the Army eventually confirmed in its official findings that systematic rapes had indeed taken place, the charges against the accused men were quietly dropped.

Three months after My Lai, another gang rape by members of the 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, occurred near division headquarters at Chu Lai. Adjudged "a serious incident" by the military, this case involved two officers and at least four enlisted men. According to undisputed testimony presented at the various court-martial proceedings—the men, as usual, were tried separately— members of the ist Platoon of Company B captured some male and two female "Oriental human beings" during the afternoon of June 2, 1968, while on operations in the Dragon Valley. The two females, teen-age girls, were suspected of being Vietcong or NVA nurses. The younger one, Yen, was fourteen years old. Captain Leonard Goldman, commanding officer of Company B, heard from battalion headquarters via radio that no helicopters were available to transport his prisoners to an interrogation unit, so he ordered a sergeant to secure the prisoners for the night. "The events which transpired during the night are not in dispute' reads the stilted language of Goldman's several appeals: . . . suffice it to say that the two female detainees were subject to multiple rapes, sodomy, and other mistreatments at the hands of various members of the First Platoon of Company B.

On the morning of 3 June 1968, these detainees, including the two females, were escorted to the landing zone where one female nurse [Yen] was murdered by a member of the appellant's unit. Lieutenant D, who had been Acting Company Commander while the appellant was on R & R [rest and recuperation], had ordered a V.C. male detainee to shoot the nurse and provided him with a loaded M-16 rifle to accomplish that purpose. The V.C. shot the nurse in the neck and Lieutenant D thereafter fired two more shots into the nurse's head. The appellant was not present when the killing occurred, and when he was informed of the incident he was advised that "some gink grabbed a rifle and shot one of the nurses." Yen's body was found on an inspection visit two days later. The older nurse, who had been locked in a shed for three days, was freed. At Goldman's trial there was testimony that he had told his sergeant, "If she's taken back to the MI interrogation and she tells what happened in the field we'll all swing for it." But nobody swung for it. Captain Goldman, charged with failing to report Yen's rape and murder, was fined $1,200 for "failing to enforce adequate safeguards to protect female Orientals" and was allowed to resign from the Army. Lieutenant William H. DeWitt, referred to as "Lieutenant D" in the briefs, was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial, was released from service and shipped back to the States. Enlisted men Marlyn D. Guthmiller and William C. Ficke, Jr., one charged with rape, the other with sodomy, each received a year at hard labor, knocked down on review to six months. A fifth man was acquitted, and a sixth, who served as primary witness against the accused, was granted immunity.

A court-martial, a conviction and a knocked-down sentence was not the way it usually went. Rape was, in the words of one Vietnam veteran, "pretty SOP"—standard operating procedure, and it was a rare GI who possessed the individual courage or morality to go against his buddies and report, let alone stop, the offense. "They only do it when there are a lot of guys around," veteran George Phillips told writer Lucy Komisar. "You know, it makes them feel good. They show each other what they can do—T can do it,' you know. They won't do it by themselves." "Did you rape too?" "Nope." "Why not?" "I don't know, I just got a thing. I don't— Of course it got around the company, you know, well, hah, 'the medic didn't do it.' " "Did anybody report these incidents?" "No. No one did. You don't dare. Next time you're out in the field you won't come back—you'll come back in a body bag. What the hell, she's only a dink, a gook, this is what they think." "Me and one of the buck sergeants and two other guys took these four chicks in the elephant grass' a Vietnam deserter who uses the name "Jerry Samuels" told writer Roger Williams in Toronto. "We balled these chicks. They were forcibly willing— they'd rather do that than get shot. Then one of the girls yelled some derogatory thing at the guy who'd balled her. . . . He just reached down for his weapon and blew her away. Well, right away the three other guys, including myself, picked up our weapons and blew away the other three chicks. Just like that. . . . Me and this other guy, we got high together in the bunker a lot, and we talked a lot about why we did it. The thing we couldn't understand was that when this other guy shot the first chick, we picked up our weapons without giving it a second thought and fired up the rest."

In February, 1971, more than one hundred veterans convened in Detroit to give testimony in a public forum concerning atrocities they had witnessed and committed during their period of service in Vietnam. They were now Vietnam Veterans Against the War and they named their convocation "The Winter Soldier Investigation: An Inquiry into American War Crimes." Using the vernacular of young men whose wartime aggressor experience had left them cynical, guilt-ridden and wised-up fast, they spoke to one another and to their audience with a mixture of anguish and toughness. From vet to vet, the stories they told were amazingly similar: cans of C rations thrown from trucks and deliberately aimed at the heads of Vietnamese beggar children who lined the road; "Mad Minutes"—indiscriminate firing along the perimeter of the base camp; "the Bell Telephone Hour"—wiring the genital areas of male and female prisoners to field phones during interrogation procedures; the burning of villages; the destruction of crops; and always, the special systematic abuse of women. Sergeant Scott Camil, a forward observer with the ist Battalion, n th Marine Regiment, ist Marine Division from March, 1966, to November, 1967, and later a leader of the W A W , had this exchange with a panel moderator:


' I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

We call this investigation the "Winter Soldier Investigation." The term "Winter Soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough. We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, no reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out...

We saw first hand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Vietcong terrorism, and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Vietcong. We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum. We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Orientals.

We watched the U.S. falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts. We listened while month after month we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against "oriental human beings," with quotation marks around that. We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater or let us say a non-third-world people theater, and so we watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill has to be taken, and after losing one platoon or two platoons they marched away to leave the high for the reoccupation by the North Vietnamese because we watched pride allow the most unimportant of battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn't lose, and we couldn't retreat, and because it didn't matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point. And so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sanhs and Hill 881's and Fire Base 6's and so many others.'

+ Vietnam War Hearing: John Kerry Testimony (1971):

'John Kerry, head of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, addresses the crowd outside the Congress building in Washington in an anti-war rally.' (24 Apr 1971)

CAMIL: When we went through the villages and searched people the women would have all their clothes taken off and the men would use their penises to probe them to make sure they didn't have anything hidden anywhere. And this was raping but it was done as searching.
MODERATOR: As searching. Were there any officers present there?
CAMIL: Yes there were.
MODERATOR: Was this done on a company level?
CAMIL: Company level.
MODERATOR: The company commander was around when this happened?
CAMIL: Right.
MODERATOR: Did he approve of it or did he look the other way or—
CAMIL: He never said not to or never said anything about it. The main thing was that if an operation was covered by the press there were certain things we weren't supposed to do, but if there was no press there, it was okay. I saw one case where a woman was shot by a sniper, one of our snipers. When we got up to her she was asking for water. And the lieutenant said to kill her. So he ripped off her clothes, they stabbed her in both breasts, they spread her eagle and shoved an E tool up her vagina, an entrenching tool, and she was still asking for water. And then they took that out and they used a tree limb and then she was shot.
MODERATOR: Did the men in your outfit, or when you witnessed these things, did they seem to think it was all right to do anything to the Vietnamese?
CAMIL: It wasn't like they were humans... They were a gook or a Commie and it was okay.*

Lance Corporal Thomas Heidtman, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1966-1967, described a sideline of the "Burning 5th Marines":

"One thing that was more or less like a joke . . . and it would get a laugh every time from somebody, was if we were moving through a village and there was a woman present. Her clothes, at least the top half of her clothes were just ripped. I've seen that happen, and done it several times, probably thirty, forty times I've seen civilians with their clothes just—just because they were female and they were old enough for somebody to get a laugh at—their clothes, the top of their clothes, at least, would be ripped. Just torn right down. It only takes one hand to rip those kind of clothing. They're real thin silk or whatever, and they would be shoved out into the ditch and we'd just keep going."

Sergeant Michael McClusker was with the Public Information Office, I Corps, 1st Marine Division in 1966-1967:

"Which meant that I was a reporter-photographer and spent all of my time out in the field. It was almost like watching the same film strip continually, time after time after time." The next instance happened also in the same month of September when a squad of nine men, that was a Chu Lai rifle squad, went into this village. They were supposed to go after what they called a Viet Cong whore. They went into the village and instead of capturing her, they raped her—every man raped her. As a matter of fact, one man said to me later that it was the first time he had ever made love to a woman with his boots on. The man who led the squad was actually a private. The squad leader was a sergeant but he was a useless person and he let the private take over his squad. Later he said he took no part in the raid, it was against his morals. So instead of telling his squad not to do it, because they wouldn't listen to him anyway, the sergeant went into another side of the village and just sat and stared bleakly at the ground, feeling sorry for himself. But at any rate, they raped the girl, and then, the last man to make love to her shot her in the head."

Sergeant Jamie Henry was nineteen years old in 1967-1968 when he served with the 4th Infantry Division. He told the conference that he had reported his information to the Army's Criminal Investigation Division:

"I gave them names, dates, grid coordinates, etc., but they'll probably say it's a lie. We moved into a small hamlet, 19 women and children were rounded up as VCS—Viet Cong Suspects—and the lieutenant that rounded them up called the captain on the radio and he asked what should be done with them. The captain simply repeated the order that came down from the colonel that morning, to kill anything that moves, which you can take any way you want to take it. . . . I looked toward where the supposed VCS were, and two men were leading a young girl, approximately 19 years old, very pretty, out of a hootch. She had no clothes on so I assumed she had been raped, which was pretty SOP, and she was thrown onto the pile of the 19 women and children, and five men around the circle opened up on full automatic with their M-i6s. And that was the end of that. Now there was a lieutenant who heard this over the radio in our company—he was going nuts. He was going to report it to everybody. After that day he calmed down and the next day he didn't say anything about it."

Specialist/4 Joe Galbally, who served in the 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, 1967-1968, said:

"I was a Pfc. in an infantry company, which meant that there was about seventyfive of us turned loose on the civilian population in Vietnam." These people are aware of what American soldiers do to them, so naturally they tried to hide the young girls. We found one hiding in a bomb shelter in sort of the basement of her house. She was taken out, raped by six or seven people in front of her family, in front of us, and the villagers. This wasn't just one incident; this was just the first one I can remember. I know of 10 or 15 of such incidents at least.

Sergeant Michael Hunter served two tours of duty in Vietnam, from 1968 to 1970. His first tour was with the 1st Air Cavalry Division:

"Now as far as atrocities, my company, Bravo Company, 5th of the 7th, when we were outside of Hue shortly after the Tet offensive, went into a village—and this happened repeatedly afterwards— and searched for enemy activity. We encountered a large amount of civilian population. The civilian population was brought out to one end of the village, and the women, who were guarded by a squad and a squad leader at that time, were separated. I might say the young women were separated. . . . They were told at gunpoint that if they did not submit to the sexual desires of any GI who was there guarding them, they would be shot for running away. And this was put in the language as best possible for people who cannot speak Vietnamese, and they got the point across because three women submitted to the raping of the GIs."

Specialist/4 Timon Hagelin from Philadelphia was assigned to the Graves Registration Platoon, 243rd Field Service Company, 1st Logistics Command in 1968-1969:

"He was sent to Dak To. While I was on the base taking care of KIAs as they came through, I made friends with people in my company that I considered basically nice people. We used to get together at night and talk. I went down to a certain place where they all were and as I approached it, I heard a scream. Someone was obviously very scared. As I got down to the door, I called one of my friends. He punched this chick on the side of the head. The girl was, you know, Vietnamese people are a lot smaller than American people. It doesn't take that much to hurt one of those people, you know? They gave her a couple of good shots and the girl finally started yelling, "Me do, me do, me do," and about seven of them ripped her off. I know the guys, and I know basically they're not really bad people, you know? I just couldn't figure out what was going on to make the people like this do it. It was just part of the everyday routine, you know."

Captain John Mallory, civic action officer for the ist Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, ist Air Cavalry Division in 1969-1970, testified with precision:

"On one occasion a North Vietnamese Army nurse was killed by the 11th Armored Cavalry troops; subsequently a grease gun of the type used in automotive work was placed in her vagina and she was packed full of grease."

Specialist/5 Don Dzagulones, an interrogator with the 635th Military Intelligence Detachment, attached to the 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division in Quang Ngai Province in 1969, mentioned that:

"Most of the prisoners we had were women. It wasn't uncommon to have a mother and daughter coming in the same group of prisoners." Another time they brought in a woman prisoner who also was alleged to be a spy. They continued the interrogation in a bunker and she wouldn't talk. I don't think she even gave them her name. So they stripped off her clothing and they threatened to rape her, which had no effect on her at all. She was very stoic. She just stood there and looked at them defiantly. So they threatened to burn her pubic hairs. And I guess it wasn't done on purpose, I'm sure of that, but they lighted a cigarette lighter and she caught on fire. She went into shock. I guess she was unconscious, so they called the medics. The medics came and they gave the medics instructions to take her to the hospital under the pretext of being in a coma from malaria, which they did. And nothing was ever done about that."


As a matter of historical record, by the time The Winter Soldier Investigation had been convened, the feminist movement and the antiwar movement had gone their separate and distinct ways, each absorbed with its own issues to the exclusion of the other, with no small amount of bitterness among movement troopers whose energies, ideologies and sense of priority pulled them in one direction or the other. As a woman totally committed to the feminist cause I received several requests during this time to march, speak and "bring out my sisters" to antiwar demonstrations "to show women's liberation solidarity with the peace movement," and my response was that if the peace movement cared to raise the issue of rape and prostitution in Vietnam, I would certainly join in. This was met with stony silence on the part of antiwar activists whose catchwords of the day were "anti-imperialism" and "American aggression," and for whom the slogan—it appeared on buttons—" Stop the Rape of Vietnam" meant the defoliation of crops, not the abuse of women. Communications between feminist groups and antiwar groups were tense as they sought to raise our consciousness and we sought to raise our own. I am sorry that the peace movement did not consider the abuse of women in Vietnam an issue important and distinctive enough to stand on its own merits, and I am sorry that we in the women's movement, struggling to find our independent voices, could not call attention to this women's side of the war by ourselves. The time was not right.'

+ Susan Brownmiller - "Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape" (1975/1993):

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Merry Christmas 2019

'Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other entities to be avoided or distrusted as not being acceptable to those making the list. A blacklist can list people to be discriminated against, refused employment, or censored. As a verb, blacklist can mean to put an individual or entity on such a list. Edward Gibbon wrote in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776): "His memory was stored with a black list of the enemies and rivals, who had traduced his merit, opposed his greatness, or insulted his misfortunes". The first published reference to blacklisting of an employee dates from 1774. This became a significant employment issue in American mining towns and company towns, where blacklisting could mean a complete loss of livelihood for workers who went on strike. The 1901 Report of the Industrial Commission stated: "There was no doubt in the minds of workingmen of the existence of the blacklisting system, though it was practically impossible to obtain evidence of it." It cited a news report that in 1895 a former conductor on the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad committed suicide, having been out of work ever since a strike: "Wherever he went, the blacklist was ahead of him".

Though the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 outlawed punitive blacklists against employees who supported trade unions or criticised their employers, the practice continued in common use. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 made amendments which sustained blacklisting by affirming the right of employers to be anti-union, and by requiring trade union leaders to make loyalty oaths which had the same effect as the Hollywood blacklist. Since then, lawsuits for unfair dismissal have led to blacklisting being covert or informal, but it remains common. In the summer of 1940, the SS printed a secret list called Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. ("Special Search List Great Britain") as part of Nazi Germany's preparations for invasion codenamed Operation Sea Lion – when this booklet was found after the war, it was commonly called "the Black Book" and described as a blacklist. The Hollywood blacklist was instituted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 to block screenwriters and other Hollywood professionals who were purported to have Communist sympathies from obtaining employment. In computing, a blacklist is an access control system that denies entry to a specific list (or a defined range) of users, programs, or network addresses.'

+ Blacklist:

'Media blackout refers to the censorship of news related to a certain topic, particularly in mass media, for any reason. A media blackout may be voluntary, or may in some countries be enforced by the government or state. The latter case is controversial in peacetime, as some regard it as a human rights violation and repression of free speech. Press blackout is a similar phrase, but refers specifically to printed media. Media blackouts are used, in particular, in times of declared war, to keep useful intelligence from the enemy. In some cases formal censorship is used, in others the news media are usually keen to support their country voluntarily. Some examples of media blackout would include the media bans of southern Japan during the droppings of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the lack of independent media correspondence from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.'

+ Blackout:


Rage Against The Machine - "Sleep Now In The Fire (24:20)" - The Battle of Dusseldorf (04/02/2000):

'Shadow banning (also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting) is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned. For instance, shadow banned comments posted to a blog or media site won't be visible to other persons accessing that site from their computers. "Shadow banning" became popularized in 2018 as a conspiracy theory that Twitter had shadow-banned websites labelled #FakeNews under the Propaganda Act of 2016. Vice News alleged that this was a case of honeypot shadow-banning over a limited hangout operation. Numerous news outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Buzzfeed News, Engadget and New York magazine, disputed the Vice News story. In a blog post, Twitter said that the use of the phrase "shadow banning" was inaccurate as Federal case law was in play. Later, Twitter appeared to have adjusted its platform to no longer limit the visibility of some accounts.'

+ Shadow Ban:

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"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes. Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions.

The physician Denis Mukwege has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the Panzi Hospital was established in Bukavu in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults. Most of the abuses have been committed in the context of a long-lasting civil war that has cost the lives of more than six million Congolese.

Denis Mukwege is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts. His basic principle is that “justice is everyone’s business”. Men and women, officers and soldiers, and local, national and international authorities alike all have a shared responsibility for reporting, and combating, this type of war crime. The importance of Dr. Mukwege’s enduring, dedicated and selfless efforts in this field cannot be overstated. He has repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticised the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war.

Nadia Murad is herself a victim of war crimes. She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.

Nadia Murad is a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, where she lived with her family in the remote village of Kocho. In August 2014 the Islamic State (IS) launched a brutal, systematic attack on the villages of the Sinjar district, aimed at exterminating the Yazidi population. In Nadia Murad’s village, several hundred people were massacred. The younger women, including underage children, were abducted and held as sex slaves. While a captive of the IS, Nadia Murad was repeatedly subjected to rape and other abuses. Her assaulters threatened to execute her if she did not convert to their hateful, inhuman version of Islam.

Nadia Murad is just one of an estimated 3 000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the IS army. The abuses were systematic, and part of a military strategy. Thus they served as a weapon in the fight against Yazidis and other religious minorities.

After a three-month nightmare Nadia Murad managed to flee. Following her escape, she chose to speak openly about what she had suffered. In 2016, at the age of just 23, she was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.

This year marks a decade since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security. This is also set out in the Rome Statute of 1998, which governs the work of the International Criminal Court. The Statute establishes that sexual violence in war and armed conflict is a grave violation of international law. A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war.

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is firmly embedded in the criteria spelled out in Alfred Nobel’s will. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have both put their personal security at risk by courageously combating war crimes and seeking justice for the victims. They have thereby promoted the fraternity of nations through the application of principles of international law."

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 - Oslo (5 October 2018):


"For almost four years, I have been travelling around the world to tell my story and that of my community and other vulnerable communities, without having achieved any justice. The perpetrators of sexual violence against Yazidi and other women and girls are yet to be prosecuted for these crimes. If justice is not done, this genocide will be repeated against us and against other vulnerable communities. Justice is the only way to achieve peace and co-existence among the various components of Iraq. If we do not want to repeat cases of rape and captivity against women, we must hold to account those who have used sexual violence as a weapon to commit crimes against women and girls."

Nadia Murad: Nobel Peace Prize lecture (2018):

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"It is in the name of the Congolese people that I accept the Nobel Peace Prize. It is to all victims of sexual violence across the world that I dedicate this prize. It is with humility that I come before you to raise the voice of the victims of sexual violence in armed conflicts and the hopes of my compatriots. I take this opportunity to thank everyone who, over the years, has supported our battle. I am thinking, in particular, of the organizations and institutions of friendly countries, my colleagues, my family and my dear wife Madeleine."

"My name is Denis Mukwege. I come from one of the richest countries on the planet. Yet the people of my country are among the poorest of the world. The troubling reality is that the abundance of our natural resources – gold, coltan, cobalt and other strategic minerals – is the root cause of war, extreme violence and abject poverty. We love nice cars, jewellery and gadgets. I have a smartphone myself. These items contain minerals found in our country. Often mined in inhuman conditions by young children, victims of intimidation and sexual violence.

When you drive your electric car; when you use your smart phone or admire your jewellery, take a minute to reflect on the human cost of manufacturing these objects. As consumers, let us at least insist that these products are manufactured with respect for human dignity. Turning a blind eye to this tragedy is being complicit. It’s not just perpetrators of violence who are responsible for their crimes, it is also those who choose to look the other way.

My country is being systematically looted with the complicity of people claiming to be our leaders. Looted for their power, their wealth and their glory. Looted at the expense of millions of innocent men, women and children abandoned in extreme poverty. While the profits from our minerals end up in the pockets of a predatory oligarchy.

For twenty years now, day after day, at Panzi hospital, I have seen the harrowing consequences of the country’s gross mismanagement. Babies, girls, young women, mothers, grandmothers, and also men and boys, cruelly raped, often publicly and collectively, by inserting burning plastic or sharp objects in their genitals. I’ll spare you the details.

The Congolese people have been humiliated, abused and massacred for more than two decades in plain sight of the international community. Today, with access to the most powerful communication technology ever, no one can say: “I didn’t know”.

With this Nobel Peace Prize, I call on the world to be a witness and I urge you to join us in order to put an end to this suffering that shames our common humanity.

The people of my country desperately need peace. But:

How to build peace on mass graves?
How to build peace without truth nor reconciliation?
How to build peace without justice nor reparation?

As I speak to you, a report is gathering mold in an office drawer in New York. It was drafted following a professional investigation into war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated in Congo. This investigation explicitly names the victims, the places and the dates, but leaves the perpetrators nameless.

This Mapping Report by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights describes no fewer than 617 war crimes and crimes against humanity and perhaps even crimes of genocide. What is the world waiting for before taking this into account? There is no lasting peace without justice. Yet, justice in not negotiable.

Let us have the courage to take a critical and impartial look at what has been going on for too long in the Great Lakes Region. Let us have the courage to reveal the names of the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity to prevent them from continuing to plague the region. Let us have the courage to recognize our past mistakes. Let us have the courage to tell the truth, to remember and commemorate.

Dear Congolese compatriots, let us have the courage to take our destiny in our own hands. Let us build peace, build our country’s future, and together build a better future for Africa. No one else will do it for us."

Denis Mukwege: Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (2018):


2018 Nobel Peace Prize

'The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict," according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee announcement on 5 October 2018 in Oslo, Norway.

"Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes," according to the award citation.

After reading the citation, Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen told reporters that the impact of this year's award is to highlight sexual abuse with the goal that every level of governance take responsibility to end such crimes and impunities.

The citation also highlighted the historic context of the 2018 award:

"This year marks a decade since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security. This is also set out in the Rome Statute of 1998, which governs the work of the International Criminal Court. The Statute establishes that sexual violence in war and armed conflict is a grave violation of international law. A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war."

Mukwege is the first Congolese and Murad is the first Iraqi to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.'

2018 Nobel Peace Prize:

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