Friday, July 21, 2006

Are the Psychological Effects of War an Excuse to Rape and Murder a Child?

This morning as I quickly skimmed through my daily e-mail of news headlines from the Washington Post, a title caught my eye – “Soldiers Plan to Argue Rape Tied to Distress”.

I gasped in horror as I read that attorneys representing the Army soldiers who confessed to raping and murdering a young Iraqi girl, want to argue that the crime was committed due to “extreme emotional distress;” basically excusing these soldiers from any responsibility for their actions. I guess it was the war’s fault? Or it’s the government’s fault that five men raped a girl who is reported to be less than 15 years old and then murdering her and her family? So I guess this makes it okay for any soldier under extreme emotional distress to destroy a child and her family’s life?

While I can imagine that wartime is an extremely stressful and soul-destroying experience, I do not believe that the psychological effects of wartime should even be considered as an excuse to rape fellow soldiers or the civilians (excuse me – children!) you are supposed to be protecting. At some point in all of our lives, we undergo extreme distress, violence, depression, whatever, but a lot of us choose to refrain from taking someone else’s life in exchange for our pain. Keyword – “choose” – it’s a choice. Something that I hope that whoever participates in this trial will deeply consider.

This has so many complications, one I am thinking of is the race issue - how the lives of brown skinned Muslim people - especially women - are considered worthless by those in power in the United States. This is probably how the Iraqis and other people around the world see it. And it’s very sad. I hope (and pray) that this Iraqi girl and her family receive justice.

- Nicole Player, Communications Asst. Share

9 comments:

  1. This is shocking, and sad. In times of war it seems that people don't want to take responsibility for their actions.

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  2. Although I don't know all the details of the case I'd have a hard time placing any blame on the government for those 5 solider's action. I do have extreme disagreement with claiming extreme emotional distress. That is absurd! Looks like WE still have a lot of work still to do!

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  3. It appears the sexual explotation of woman has no bounderies where American men are concerned. That is not to say all American Men are dogs. We have been blessed in our nation to have soldiers of the highest caliber. It is amazing these men are still being grown on American soil. With the sexual promiscuity that is promoted on TV, movies, and print media it is no wonder our 'good American boyz' easily chose to take advantage of a woman in a war torn country. I largely blame American women for their willingness to market their bodies as a commodity. If women would refuse to sell their image as a sexual object, we could become an equal to men in society. Women have more to offer than just good looks and a receptacle for a man's satisfaction. I pray these soldiers are punished for their despicable actions but furthermore I pray women (girls) like Brittany Spears, Pamela Anderson, and the like wake up to the crisis they are setting in place for all young women... a crisis that defines women as a vehicle designed only for a man's pleasure. That is only a small part of what women are all about! I appreciate the contributions of this blog in helping to promote the true characteristics of a real man!

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  4. Anonymous10:42 PM

    The productive piece of starting a forum like this is that people all over the world have the opportunity to discuss an extremely complex subject, and I might add in this case a highly debateable subject. I want to state from the start that I do not support the injustice of any individual in the world and strongly belive that every person has the right to live a life free of violence.

    First, I wonder out of the people that have posted on this topic, who has actually taken the time to really get to know an ex-solider that has served in any war? I am not talking about a one time meeting but a relationship that has been established with an ex-solider and trust has been established to the level of that ex-solider being able to REALLY disclose what they were forced to witness and be a part of.

    My second point, is when I say "forced" I am talking about critically thinking about and researching from more than one perspective how men and women find their way into the military and the over-representation of people of color in the military.

    I want to make it CLEAR that I do not support the rape or killing of women, men or children however I belive that there is great danger in making a blanket statment that suggests that your thoughts are "quick fixes" and not critically thought out.

    I myself have for the majority of my life been a person that has never supported the military or what they represent. That is until one day in the middle of the woods I watched someone I love dearly for the first time in their lives disclose their secret, a secret that wrenched at the very existence of their being. Their secret of fighting in a war, having been forced, by circumstance, to kill men, women, and children. Not because it was a part of their value system but because in war you are faced with life or death circumstances in the matter of seconds.

    The easy anwser is "Well it's your fault for putting yourself in that situation?" Is it though really that black and white. I think not. It is easy for people to say this but have we all forgotten that there was a time when American people, largely oppressed American people, were offered the option of going into the military or serving a sentance in the prison system. We are not always talking about people that about high profile crimes. We are talking about people that have committed petty crimes. For inner city youth, this is often an additional opportunity to get out of the ghetto; while thought to be getting out of the inner city war that exists every day in this country. For some the decision is as simple as stay here in the US and fight to stay alive or do something that is considered and valued my the majority as honorable and join the military. To make a fresh start, to sometimes for the first time in your life feel respected by ANYONE including your family. Only to find that the war you have just entered is far worse than the war you left behind. Yes women, children, and men are dying in our streets everyday in an invisible WAR yet the WAR that these same individuals fight overseas is not always similiar to the WAR they are used to fighting here. Sometimes that WAR is living in the middle of family violence, or growing up in a community where it is harder than not to join or be exploited by a gang, or pimped out, or living in the middle of country that does not recognize you as a valuable person based on your race, class, ability, sex, or sexuality. See but this is a WAR that our country is founded on- US vs. THEM. Yet, as a new solider suddenly in the middle of a WAR in another country you find yourself in the middle of completely different and unrecognized social systems- and perhaps in a culture where it is not uncommon to train your child to defend your family at all costs at a very early age. So, as a solider you find yourself staring down the barrel of an AK 47 with the small eyes of a child at the other end; and in the matter of seconds are forced to make a life or death decision.

    I can support the notion of not supporting the actions of soliders that rape a women or child. But, challenge you all to think critically about what the likihood of a solider is faced with when making the decision to kill a woman or child in WAR. Is the death of a solider that has chosen to not defend themselves any less horrific?

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