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Today on the 6th anniversary of the opening of a black stain on the soul of America, Guantanamo Bay prison. I was going to write about the necessity of the base being closed and the prisoners charged, tried, or released, but another stain has been nagging at me today.

The hidden stain of female members of the military being abused by fellow soldiers, Marines, or sailors is one that is regularly ignored or glossed over by a corporate media that rejects all bad news stories from war zones and reports Pentagon propaganda like it is fact: until today, that is.

Pregnant, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Frances Lauterbach, who has been missing since she was reported missing by her mother on December 19th has been determined to have been murdered by the father of her child (another Marine) who she had reported for rape. The corporate media is all over this tragic story because they should report it and because Maria is a very pretty, white woman.

One would have to search the internet to read about other stories of abuse. It is reported that up to 80% of females have been sexually harassed and 30% have actually been raped. Spc. Suzanne Swift was raped and sexually harassed during her tour of duty in Iraq and was going to be forced to go on a second deployment with her tormentors and, suffering from horrendous PTSD, went AWOL instead---Suzanne was punished by the military, but her attackers went free. How many cases like Pvt. LaVena Johnson’s (died in Afghanistan in 2005) ended in a tragic death that was reported as suicide---but there are indicators that she may have been killed because she reported the name of her attacker at a subsequent Doctor’s appointment.

Then there are the often reported (in alternative news) claims that female troops die of dehydration in their sleep because in 120 degree weather they stop drinking water after 3:00 pm to avoid having to take a trip to the latrine at night: trips that too often ended in being sexually assaulted. According to former National Guard General, Janis Karpinski, the cause of these deaths were covered up with the knowledge and encouragement of General Ricardo Sanchez: who was NOT punished for his part in the stain of Abu Ghraib, but Ms. Karpinski was. Hmmm….

I would venture to say with almost 100% certainty that we American families do not raise our sons to become rapists and murderers. As a matter of fact, I would emphatically state that we try and teach our sons not to do these things. I am also sure that most troops do not go to Iraq expecting to rape a fellow soldier, Marine or sailor. Psychiatrist, Robert Jay Lifton, who has studied war crimes and war criminals, states that war will always provide “atrocity-producing situations.” Our sons (and now daughters) that commit these crimes are rarely sociopaths or disordered individuals---just put in impossible situations by their civilian and military leaders and expected to act honorably when there is absolutely no honor in war.


As bad as the situation is for our soldiers and their families, and as underreported as sexual assault in the military is, we as American consumers of corporate media drivel will never know the full scope of the rapes and murders of the Iraqi people by our military. The few incidences that have hit the corporate media are quickly passed over and replaced by Anna Nicole’s death or Ellen’s dog.

I pray that the sad and horrible death of Maria Lauterbach will have the positive effect of highlighting just one in a long list of stains that have been provided by the “atrocity producing” Bush regime. I wish for her family, and the millions of families who have been devastated by the pigs of war, some kind of peace.

Our world is saturated with the blood-stains of millions of people who have been victimized by war. Death from war is one-hundred percent preventable and must be truly outlawed as any kind of way to solve problems; just, unjust; legal or illegal. The true criminals reside in places with lofty names like White House, palace and legislature. Until these people are punished, tragedies like Maria's, Suzanne's, LaVena's and so many more, will continue.

 

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.
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