FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Friendly Fire

“Fratricide” is a fancy Latin word used at the Pentagon to refer to the slaughter of our own soldiers in “friendly fire” incidents. Months before Bush Two’s War, high-placed military sources were already cautioning front-line commanders against “an obsession with preventing fratricide.” With good reason, one might say, if the reason weren’t so bad.

During Gulf War One, the last time a U.S. Army was ordered into battle, an unprecedented percentage of the casualties it suffered were self-inflicted.

By Pentagon estimates, the proportion of friendly fire casualties in 1991 was higher than in any previous war — 10 times as high as in any other modern war, said the Washington Post at the time.

More than one-in-five Americans killed in action were butchered not by Saddam’s forces but by their fellow Americans. Imagine if that had been true in the Second World War. We’d have killed hundreds of thousands of our own people.

Among non-lethal casualties in Bush One’s War, according to numerous reports, the most common inflictor of friendly-fire wounding suffered by American combatants was neither gunshot nor bayonet nor shrapnel.

It was rape.

Rape is the other perverse meaning of “fratricide.”

Is it unpatriotic to mention these things? Merely to know them is profoundly unsettling. The “fragging” of officers in Viet Nam pales by comparison. Even in the false logic of our day (do you “oppose the war” or do you “support our people in uniform”?) the rape of uniformed American soldiers by other Americans, under the leadership of officers who have been cautioned not to be obsessed with preventing it, is a sobering thought, especially in light of recent news from Colorado Springs.

More than a decade has passed since the first Gulf War. In the interval, the U.S. Air Force Academy has demonstrably not yielded to an “obsession” with preventing rape. Officials are currently reviewing at least 56 reports of rape and other sexual offenses, and to their credit they’ve gone on record as saying they believe many more such incidents have gone unreported. Nearly all of the rapists are from the class of people who like to be identified as “superior officers” when they have their trousers up.

The Academy’s initial response was to crack down hard on the rape victims for coming forward. Even now, by announcing that henceforward male and female cadets will be housed in separate dorm rooms, the Academy appears to blame the victims, suggesting that they brought it on themselves merely by being present. Apparently the education of our officers is in the hands of people who believe it is unrealistic to expect men to refrain from rape if women are accessible. (And to think, we don’t want Gays in the military because it might make such “men” uncomfortable.)

There were commentators in 1991 who worried aloud on TV about what might happen if a female American soldier fell into the hands of the barbarous Iraqis. So great was the fear that she might be raped that hardly anyone dared mention it directly. No one thought to warn her to stay out of Colorado Springs.

On the streets of Baghdad today they are not overly concerned with American fratricide. They are more likely to be discussing the potential fate of Iraqi women who may fall into the hands of American soldiers. The fear is that “liberation” may be just another word for rape and plunder. On what basis, I wonder, could anyone assure them that it isn’t?

What about “fratricidal” behavior among those who didn’t get into the Academies? Studies show that spousal violence is significantly worse among military families than among civilians, and that it’s also worse among commissioned officers than among the enlisted. The higher the rank, the more slapping and hair pulling.

Odd, isn’t it? The more power people get, the more violently they behave.

So what do you want, Vest? A non-violent military???

Yeah.

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

For a sneak peek at Vest’s new CD of scorching blues and rock ‘n roll, Way Down Here, visit: http://www.rebelangel.com

 

More articles by:

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail